LA Clippers (44-20) vs LA Lakers (49-14)
When: Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Where: The Arena,
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Pickem/218.5
It’s been over four months since we last saw an NBA game, but the league returns to the court on Thursday to conclude the 2019-20 regular season. The ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. will host two games on Thursday including the battle of Los Angeles between the Clippers and Lakers at 9 p.m. ET. The Lakers will considered the ‘home’ team for this game in Orlando, and that only matters as the NBA is setting up these neutral courts to cater to the ‘home’ team in terms of signs, colors, etc. The NBA announced on Wednesday that a second consecutive week of zero positive tests were reported in the bubble. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers lead the season series 2-1 and this is the last game these teams will play until the playoffs. Leonard is averaging 30.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the series. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings and the Clippers have covered their past six as the ‘road’ team in this series – if that even matters.
Depth will be a concern for the Clippers as they seek their first every NBA title. Right now, the Clippers are the No. 2 seed, three games clear of No. 4 Denver. That’s important because if they can finish second or third, they would avoid the Lakers until the Western Conference Finals. The short-handed Clippers will be without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, while starting point guard Patrick Beverley is questionable as he deals with a family matter. Backup guard Landry Shamet is doubtful because of Covid-19. Reggie Jackson, signed right before the shutdown, will likely see more playing time.
The Lakers will be playing out the final eight games of the regular season in hopes of staying healthy, because they have a 5.5-game lead over the Clippers for the West’s top seed. The Lakers are also a little short-handed with guard Avery Bradley opting out of the season and backup point guard Rajon Rondo dealing with a broken finger. Star Anthony Davis should play Thursday after injuring his eye in a scrimmage recently but did practice in full Wednesday. Davis is averaging 26.3 points and 7.3 rebounds vs. the Clippers this season.
The Clippers were starting to play well before the shutdown and it might take them some time to get that momentum back, especially without a few of their key players. I’m expecting a big game out of LeBron right out of the gate. I’ll lay the points here.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today. He is 73-57-3 on the season after a 13-6 run!
Pick: Lakers -4