It is always a battle when the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers get together for a game at the Staples Center. The Clippers have been trying to get on the same level as the Lakers for a few decades, but the Lakers still run the town. The Clippers have been slightly better than the Lakers this season, but that all could change when LeBron makes his return.
The Lakers have lost four of their last five games and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race. They come into this game with a record of 26-25 and are 10.5 games back in the Pacific Division. The Clippers suffered a stunning loss to the Hawks in their last game, but still have a 28-23 record on the season. The Lakers opened us a 5.5 point underdog against the Clippers on Thursday night.
All Eyes on LeBron in LA
There have been rumors that LeBron James could make his long-awaited return to the court in this game. If that is the case, then you can expect the Lakers to have a big advantage in this one. The Lakers have struggled mightily without their leader but looked like one of the best teams in the NBA with him on the court. LeBron is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game this season. LeBron’s presence would be a welcome sight for Lakers fans and a nightmare for the Clippers.
Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball have also missed games with injuries of late but look like future stars in the league. Kuzma is averaging 19.1 points per game this season and was the Lakers best offensive player without LeBron in the lineup. The Lakers are averaging 112.1 points per game this season, which is slightly better than league average. As soon as LeBron comes back, that number should go up significantly.
Clippers Defense Letting Them Down
The Los Angeles Clippers have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA so far this season, but they do have a major flaw. The Clippers are allowing almost 114 points per game, which is near the bottom of the NBA. Los Angeles gave up 123 points to a bad Atlanta Hawks team in their previous game and must make some improvements against a talented Lakers squad.
Tobias Harris has come out of nowhere to lead the Clippers offense this season. Harris is scoring more than 21 points per game, while also grabbing a team-high eight boards per night. Shooting guard Lou Williams is once again the best reserve player in the league, scoring close to 19 points per night. The Clippers don’t have any true stars, but they have enough offensive firepower to get the job done.
Lakers Beat Rival Clippers at Staples Center
The status of LeBron James will play a huge role in this betting line, but I’m not really sure it matters. The Lakers always get up for games against the Clippers, and they will want to prove that they remain the kings of LA. The Clippers have had a nice season, but they are still playing second fiddle to the Lakers. Bet the Los Angeles Lakers +5.5 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.