Clippers vs. Lakers Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
After very eventful first halves, the Clippers and Lakers will begin their push for the playoffs on Friday night as we enter the last portion of the season.
Without Anthony Davis, can LeBron James lead the purple and gold to victory? Let’s take a closer look at this one.
Clippers’ Offense Reinvigorated
Despite missing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers have established themselves as a perfectly average team. In the month of February, they rank 15th in offensive efficiency, posting 112 .6 points per 100 possessions, while their defense has lagged slightly behind with 114.8 points against per 100 possessions.
While some of that has to do with the reinvigoration of the offense brought on by Norman Powell (now injured) and Robert Covington, it also is a testament to the talent currently employed by the Clippers as well as the coaching of Ty Lue.
While Powell was dropping 21 points per game, Marcus Morris was still giving L.A. 19.3 points per game in February up until the All-Star break on 48.9% shooting from deep, while Reggie Jackson was averaging 14.8 with 7.6 assists.
On top of that, Covington has brought a boatload of defense to this team. When he’s been on the floor, the Clippers are allowing 99.1 points per 100 possessions, according to NBA.com. When he’s off the floor, the team’s defensive rating drops to 114.8. He’ll be particularly useful in this against James.
Lakers Need More Than LeBron
Speaking of James, the Lakers are his team at the moment, though they pretty much were already. I say that because Davis went down with a right foot sprain shortly before the break, which opened the door for James to take over at the small-ball five again — a position where he thrived when Davis previously missed time this season.
On top of that, the Lakers will have to go without Avery Bradley once again, though Carmelo Anthony is probable to make his return from a hamstring injury. He will certainly add a nice punch in the scoring department.
It should also be noted that James is officially listed as questionable for this game due to left knee soreness, though there’s no feeling he’ll miss this one.
The Lakers’ biggest weakness lately has lied on the offensive end. They’ve mustered up just a 113.0 offensive rating in the month of February, which is real trouble considering their 116 defensive rating — ranked 24th — this month.
L.A. has consistently fallen behind due to its inability to get stops, and there just isn’t enough talent on the other end of the floor to make up for it.
I have to side with the team that has at least one average unit, and that’s the Clippers. They should be able to score enough on a poor Lakers defense to make their way into this game, considering how good Jackson and Morris have looked on that end of the floor.
While they haven’t played great defense, there is nothing to really worry about on the other end with L.A.’s inability to score the ball, and Covington’s superb defense which can be deployed on James.
While Covington won’t limit James to 15 points or anything like that, he should do more than enough to make the rest of the Lakers beat the Clippers — which they should not be capable of.
You can take the points here, but I’ll bet on a straight-up win.
Pick: Clippers ML(+105)