LA Lakers (37-28) at LA Clippers (44-22)
When: Thursday, May 6th, 2021
Where: Staples Center,
Los Angeles, CA
Time: 10:05 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Clippers -7/212.5
This is the last regular season meeting between the two Los Angeles teams who were supposed to be battling for the top seed in the Western Conference this year. Things have not gone as planned, especially for the Lakers, but the two will be in the postseason in a couple of weeks and could very well matchup against each other in the first round. If the season ended today, that would be the case. The Clippers are the No. 3 seed with a half-game lead over the Denver Nuggets, while the Lakers sit at No. 6 but could fall into the play-in tournament if they’re not careful. The Clippers have handled the Lakers in each of the first two meetings this season – 116-109 in the season opener on Dec. 22 and a dominant 104-86 triumph a month ago. Neither team is playing their best basketball right now. The Clippers have lost three of their past four games and will host the Lakers and New York Knicks before finishing the regular season on the road for the last four games. They have covered the spread just one time in the last eight games, while the Lakers have failed to cover in each of their last five. Superstar Kawhi Leonard played in his second straight game for the Clippers after missing nine games in April with a sore right foot. Point guard Patrick Beverley returned to the floor in the win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday after missing the past 12 games with a fractured left hand, so the Clippers are slowly getting healthy. The same can’t be said for the Lakers, who will be without LeBron James after he re-aggravated his high-ankle sprain over the weekend in a loss to Toronto. Point guard Dennis Schroder missed the Denver on Tuesday due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and will be out 10 to 14 days, according to the team.
The Lakers are coming off a 93-89 victory over the Denver Nuggets at home, but failed to cover the spread for the fifth-straight time. Anthony Davis had his best game since returning from a right calf strain, finishing with 25 points and seven rebounds. Alex Caruso started at point guard in place of Schroder, and Kyle Kuzma in place of James in Monday’s win over the Nuggets, but the Lakers had trouble taking care of the basketball, finishing with 20 turnovers. Marc Gasol provided a solid effort off the bench with 10 points and seven rebounds. The Lakers are 4-3 against the spread in their last 7 games after 2-3 days of rest.
The Clippers snapped a three-game skid with a win over Toronto on Tuesday. Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. led the team with 22 points each, while Reggie Jackson chipped in 18. Leonard was held to only 13 points, though he only took six shots. Beverley finished with eight points, shooting 3-of-5 from the field, while also dishing out three assists in 15 minutes off the bench. Leonard didn’t have much problem scoring when the Clippers defeated the Lakers in the season opener. He had 26 points on 10-of-26 shooting from the field, while George had 33 points on 13-of-18 shooting. The Clippers are averaging 114.3 points per game and the under is 9-1 in their last 10 games.
I know the Clippers are going through the motions and are just trying to stay healthy for the postseason, but they should simply overmatch the Lakers here. The Lakers are without their 2 best ball-handlers and that was a problem Monday night against Denver. The Clippers have already won the first two meetings and should get an easy double-digit win here.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Clippers -8