- The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers meet for the first time since opening night
- The Clippers have lost two straight, while the Lakers have won three of four
- Get the latest Lakers vs Clippers odds, betting preview and a pick below
Regardless of injuries and inconsistencies, Sunday’s meeting between the LA Lakers and LA Clippers — their first since opening night — is still a preview of what many believe will be the Western Conference Finals.
Even if either side is not close to their final form as we hit the 50-game mark of this shortened season, both sides have much to play for on this Sunday matinee.
The host Clippers, despite two straight losses, are a whopping 11-point favorite over their Staples’ co-residents.
Lakers vs Clippers Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+11 (-110)||+480||Ov 215.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Clippers||-11 (-110)||-650||Un 215.5 (-110)|
Odds as of April 3. Tip-off is Sunday at 3:30pm ET
The Lakers, meanwhile, have found a soft landing spot in their difficult second-half schedule to reel off three wins in their last four. They’re still weeks away from seeing LeBron James return from a high ankle sprain, and Anthony Davis from a calf/Achilles ailment.
Clips Need Consistency
Last week, the Clippers looked every bit the championship contender, dispatching of East powers Philadelphia and Milwaukee in back-to-back games.
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This week has been more humbling, as LA fell to the talent-depleted Orlando Magic 103-96, before getting handled by the Denver Nuggets Thursday night, 101-94. That’s the first time this season they’ve been held under 100 points in back-to-back games. This from a squad that averages better than 114 a night, which ranks eighth in the NBA.
The Nuggets passing vs the Clippers last night 👀 pic.twitter.com/IKxKMrzLAa
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 2, 2021
It was a bad first quarter the Clips never recovered from, shooting 6-for-17 from the field, in a game they trailed wire-to-wire. The league’s top shooting 3-point team went just 10-for-34 (29.4%) in the loss. Kawhi Leonard led the team with 24 points and 12 boards.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 2, 2021
With Pat Beverley (knee) and Serge Ibaka (back) ailing, and Paul George playing through a foot injury, perhaps Rajon Rondo’s expected debut can inject some offensive life and flow into a unit that’s already getting about 20 points a game combined in March from reserves Terance Mann and Luke Kennard.
Lakers in Limbo
After LeBron James went down with an ankle injury, things could have gotten really dicey if the Lakers didn’t snap out of a four-game losing streak. Thankfully, they were able to gain momentum with wins over the Cavaliers, Magic and Kings, with a loss to Milwaukee sprinkled in.
In their last game against Sacramento, Kyle Kuzma led the way with a season-high 30 points, while Dennis Schroder pumped in 17 in a 115-94 win.
Despite their superstar tandem in street clothes, the Lakers have been able to stay strong defensively over the seven games minus LeBron and AD. They rank seventh in points allowed at 104.7 a night, and teams are only shooting 33.6% from deep, which is the fourth best mark in the league.
The Lakers have the 4th ranked defense in the league in the 6 games since LeBron went down.
Frank might be the best defensive coach in basketball. He’s been making this happen with a revolving door of talent.
— Jason Timpf (@_JasonLT) April 2, 2021
Offensively, though, it’s been a struggle: they are 28th in the league in scoring over the same time frame, putting up 102 points a night. Only the Cavaliers and Knicks have been worse. LA is also 25th in field-goal and 22nd in three-point shooting. Thankfully, they’ve been able to find more points at the stripe, where they are averaging 25.9 free throw attempts per game, the second-highest mark in the league.
What’s the Best Bet?
Though it’s a small sample, the Lakers have struggled to get buckets against the top teams without James and Davis. In losses to Phoenix, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, they’ve broken 94 points just once, scoring 101 in a loss to the Sixers. Their average margin of defeat was 13 points in those losses.
Even if Andre Drummond is expected back in the lineup for the Purple and Gold after suffering a toe injury in his Lakers’ debut, this feels like a get-right game for the Clippers — one that their stars should dominate, and allow everyone else to get in on the fun.
The pick: Clippers -11 (-110)
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