|-8 LAC (-105) @ pinnacle|
8* LA Clippers (10:05 ET): I have the Clippers rated #2 in my own power rankings (Utah is #1). But right now they are tied for third in the conference and could be looking at a first round playoff matchup with the Lakers. They probably want to avoid that, even though they are already 2-0 vs. the Lakers this season. Ironically, if they were to beat their rival again here it would increase the probability of that first round playoff matchup happening. But I don’t think the Clippers care about that right now. They’ve lost three of five and see a Lakers team that won’t have LeBron James tonight. I think the Clips win big.
The Lakers won’t have James (rest) or Dennis Schroeder (quarantine), so that’s their two primary ball-handlers out. They did just win in Denver, but the Lakers have been struggling of late with only two wins in the last eight games. The win in Denver snapped a seven-game ATS losing skid. I just don’t like the way the Lakers are trending and it seems unlikely they will turn things around with James out of the lineup, although they did win Monday without him. But the Lakers have been bad as underdogs, going 4-15 straight up and 6-13 against the spread.
The Clippers now have Kawhi Leonard back and while they are 0-2 ATS since his return, the lineup they’ll have on the court tonight is going to be much stronger than what the Lakers trot out. Patrick Beverley returned from injury on Tuesday. The last five games have seen the Clippers go 0-5 ATS and average only 104.4 PPG. I see them “breaking out” at the offensive end in this game. They beat the Lakers by 18 last month. Anthony Davis is back for the Purple & Gold, but James isn’t and Schroeder’s absence will be felt as well. 8* LA Clippers
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