Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers (11/9/22 – 10:30 pm EDT)
Line: LA Clippers -5.5
Overview and Betting Info
Known as the Freeway Series in Los Angeles between the Dodgers and Angels, this matchup is far closer to that as both teams play in the same darn arena. With the Western Conference race in full swing, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Crypto.com Center in Downtown LA. The Lakers are coming off a 139-116 defeat to the Utah Jazz while the Clippers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 117-115.
Los Angeles Lakers Analysis
One can tread lightly or not beat around the bush with the Lakers and the fact that they are one of the worst teams in the entire NBA so far. Surprisingly or not, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook have started yet another season with a huge thud going 2-8 over their first 10 games. While experts weren’t expecting another championship run from this group, no one expected the purple and gold to have only two wins in 10 contests. Not only do they have only two wins so far as a team, they’ve gone 2-8 against the spread whereas they’ve split their games versus the over/under at 5-5.
Even the young teams that aren’t doing so well yet have an excuse but the Lakers have so many problems functioning effectively on the floor as a team that they’re easy to beat. In short, if you hustle, you’ll beat this team as they can’t hold a lead or compete after halftime. They had a little ray of hope with a two-game winning streak over the Nuggets and Pelicans before losing their next three games by an average of 17 points, all of which they lost against the spread as well. Their offense is going nowhere and ranks last in the league with a 29.1% three-point percentage while Lebron and company are allowing 49.7 rebounds per contest, second-last overall.
37 years old and in his 20th season now, Lebron leads the Lakers with 24.2 points and 7.1 assists while also contributing 8.9 boards and a steal. Davis has been another big factor for LAL as he’s putting up 23.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, two blocks, and 1.6 steals a contest. Westbrook and Lonnie Walker IV come next at 16.3 and 15.3 points a game, respectively, but their big issue is both are shooting 44% from the floor along with LeBron. In fact, the Lakers as a team are shooting 44.4% from the field and their 108.4 points a contest is 26th in the league.
Los Angeles Clippers Analysis
The Clippers have played 11 games thus far this season and are 6-5 after beating the Cavaliers Monday night. For a team that was expected to be one of the best in the Western Conference with the Paul George and Kawhi Leonard backcourt, the season has featured only one-half of the tandem with Leonard sitting out nine of the first 11 contests with a lingering knee injury. Despite that huge loss, the Clippers are above .500 in a tough Pacific division where they’re in second place behind the Phoenix Suns. So far against the spread LAC has gone 4-7 while they’re 2-9 versus the over/under.
What is it that keeps the Clippers going with Leonard? With George being the obvious answer, it’s not that simple. Head coach Tyronne Lue has thrown a group out on the hardwood that competes every night to the bitter end as evidenced by their fourth-quarter comeback against Cleveland in which they were down 13 points with about five minutes to go. That win not only put LAC above .500 but it also snapped the Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak. Part of what keeps the Clippers competing is a defense that holds opponents to 44% shooting from the field, fifth-best in the league. They’re also only allowing 107.5 points to opponents, seventh in the league, while teams are only shooting 34.1% from the three-point line on LAC, eighth-best overall.
It all starts and end with George so far this season with Leonard and his knee watching from the bench. The versatile shooting guard is racking up 25 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.7 steals a game while shooting 47.6% from the field and 36.9% from three-point range. The do-it-all guard is achieving that stat line on a team-high 35.7 minutes per game in ten contests played. Without Leonard, there’s a significant drop-off in scoring on LAC after George with power forward Marcus Morris the second-leader scorer so far with 15.3 points a contest. Center Ivica Zubac has done a good job manning the paint as he averages, 10.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.
Free Pick – Clippers -5.5
The Clippers aren’t the best team in the league by any stretch but they’re playing far better than their crosstown rival Lakers are, that’s for sure. Even with their best player injured, LAC has managed to consistently compete with their defense whereas LAL isn’t competing with anyone after halftime when they usually lose interest. Lebron may be one of the best players in the world but he’s starting to show his age and the team around him doesn’t look inspired whatsoever. The Clippers have won eight straight against the Lakers and are 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 contests in this series. Until LAL shows they can win consistently and not get blown out in the third quarter, it’s hard to have much confidence in them covering anything. We like the Clippers -5.5.