L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers
Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: LAL -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
The L.A. Clippers are 36-29 and have won six of its last 10. The Clippers have a strange assortment of players that do not seem to really fit together, but there is no discounting the massive collection of talent on the team.
Montrezl Harrell has become a major contributor after coming out as a second-round pick of the Houston Rockets. Harrell has averaged 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in just 25.5 minutes a night. Thought originally to be undersized, he has made up with for it with his massive wingspan, athleticism, and with his energy.
Lou Williams is still a bucket-getter, and he is averaging 18.7 points per game.
But the Clippers leader has been Tobias Harris, who has basically stepped into the same role once occupied by superstar Blake Griffin. Harris is leading the team at 20 points per game while adding eight rebounds per game, and just over two assists. Danilo Galinari disappears at times, but when he is locked in he is one of the best shooting forwards in the league. Gallo is averaging 19.4 points while shooting 45 percent from the floor and an outstanding 45 percent on his 5.5 three-pointers per game.
The Clippers “only” attempt 24.7 threes per game, but it connects on 39 percent of those while shooting 47 percent from the floor overall. For such a seemingly strange collection of talent, the Clippers are in the playoff race early and should find its way into the postseason.
The Lakers are 18-13 at home this season. It sits 4.5 games behind No. 8 San Antonio in the Western Conference standings with a 30-33 overall record.
The Lakers had flirted with jettisoning most of its young talent in hopes of acquiring Anthony Davis, but the Pelicans simply were not taking the deal, no matter how much butter and icing Magic Johnson put on it. Instead, the team will likely make its run at Davis in free agency, which is probably for the best as it is. The Lakers have built up some young talent that needs to be given time to mature, rather than dealing the whole wad of it for one proven superstar.
Kyle Kuzma has looked to have some “superstar” in him at times, and Brandon Ingram is an enigma worth seeing out, as well. The Lakers have seemed to demote Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the bench, and that is something of a surprise since he was initially acquired to be the defensive 2-guard L.A. needed in its backcourt rotation.
Second-year point guard Josh Hart, too, likely has a promising future of his own. The Lakers simply have too much going on to let it all go in hopes of acquiring Davis, and it should consider itself lucky that Dell Demps asked too much for Davis, because L.A., really, was already offering too much with Lonzo Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, and several other parts (including draft picks).