The battle for Los Angeles on Monday night could have big playoff ramifications down the line as the Lakers “host” the Clippers.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
It’s extraordinarily unusual for the Lakers and Clippers to be both battling for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Since moving to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season, the Clippers have largely been the laughingstocks of the league, although they made the postseason for six straight years starting in 2011-12. The Lakers are of course one of the league’s marquee franchises but in the midst of the worst playoff drought in team history, last making it in 2012-13.
Both L.A. teams might sneak in, one might (Clippers currently seventh in West) or neither could — and then sports fans of Los Angeles can turn their attention to the Angels and Dodgers in baseball. Both L.A. teams also figure to be competing for some of the same free agents this offseason, led by Kevin Durant and current Raptor Kawhi Leonard.
Third of four meetings between the Staples Center co-tenants, and they close the series on April 5 “at” the Clippers, which could be a huge game. The teams have split thus far. LeBron James only played in the 123-120 victory on Jan. 31 – that was his return from a long injury absence. He had 24 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. Lou Williams leads the Clippers in averaging 30 points this season against the Lakers.
The favorite has covered five of the past six in the series.
Los Angeles Clippers
Second of a back-to-back for the Clippers, who routed the visiting and terrible Knicks on Sunday, 128-107. Rookie Landry Shamet, acquired in the Tobias Harris trade from Philadelphia, had 21 points and tied the franchise record for made three-points in a quarter (six) and a half (seven). The Clippers led 82-46 at halftime, the second-most points in the first half in franchise history. Williams and Montrzel Harrell each contributed 18 points off the bench. They have the highest combined single-season scoring average (36.1 ppg) of any pair of reserves on the same team in NBA history. The Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their past six Monday games.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers’ playoff chances took a major hit Saturday in losing 118-109 at awful Phoenix – that’s simply not acceptable. Frankly, it’s almost an upset that coach Luke Walton still has his job after that defeat. He will not be the coach next season. LeBron had 27 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds, but the Lakers were outscored by a point with him on the court. Brandon Ingram had 25 points but was minus-5. He’s averaging 28.0 points over the past five, likely increasing his trade value in a potential Anthony Davis deal this offseason. Lance Stephenson sat out with a toe injury. James, incidentally, is close to passing Michael Jordan as the No. 4 all-time scorer in league history. Probably won’t happen Monday but could Wednesday. The Lakers have covered 10 of their past 13 against Pacific Division rivals.