Saying that the Los Angeles Clippers have dominated in regular season play against the Lakers in the recent past would be the understatement of the year. They have won 10 consecutive games against the Lakers dating back to December of 2020. As a matter of fact, the Lakers haven’t won a game against the Clippers since July 2020. You can probably guess what was going on at that time.
However, the Clips are in a tough spot to continue their dominance, as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are “uncertain” to play in the team’s second leg of a back-to-back, and they will also most likely be without newly acquired players James Harden and P.J. Tucker. Further, they traded Marcus Morris Sr., Nic Batum, Robert Covington, and K.J. Martin, so those guys will all be on a plane to Philadelphia if they aren’t there already.
Can the Clippers hold off the Lakers while they wait for their newly acquired stars to be officially active?
Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction
There are far too many “what-ifs” right now regarding injuries, load management, and who will be available to play to feel super confident in a pick one way or the other. However, let’s break down these two teams and see if there is any potential value in betting on either the Lakers or the Clippers.
Through the first four games, the Clippers hold a 3-1 record, with all three of their wins coming by double-digits at home, while their sole loss was by merely two points on the road against Utah. This bodes well for a team that might technically be the away team for Wednesday’s game but is still playing on their home floor. Either way, let’s pump the breaks on this team a bit.
The Clippers have the best net rating (and best defensive rating) and the highest eFG% and 3P% in the NBA through their first four games. However, these games were against the Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, San Antonio Spurs, and Orlando Magic. Orlando is the best team of those just mentioned, but it was on the second leg of a back-to-back after dropping a heartbreaking loss to the Lakers the night before.
Those are not “inspiring” wins.
If George and Leonard don’t play, this Clippers team will severely lack the necessary depth to compete with the Lakers. We are playing Lakers -5 unless George AND Leonard are cleared to play.
Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: Lakers -5
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Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Best Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers are five-point “home” (the Clippers also call Crypto.com Arena home) favorites against the Clippers on Wednesday night. Their moneyline odds are -198 (Lakers) and +164 (Clippers), respectively.
Additionally, the point total for this matchup rests at 225.5 points, but like the other lines, it could move before the start of the game, especially if some of the players who are listed as questionable wind up being ruled out.
Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Injuries
The Lakers will be without Rui Hachimura (eye), Jarred Vanderbilt (heel), and Jalen Hood-Schifino (knee) for their matchup against the Clippers.
Meanwhile, the Clippers won’t have James Harden (trade pending), P.J. Tucker (trade pending), Filip Petrusev (trade pending), Terance Mann (ankle), or Brandon Boston Jr. (quad.) Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are questionable, seemingly due to load management.
Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Key Matchups
Lakers Defense vs. Itself
Here is one of the rare instances where the key matchup of the game is a unit or player versus itself, as the Lakers’ defense will be the determining factor in which team wins this game. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the Clippers’ shooting split over their past ten matchups against each other.
The Clippers have shot 52% from the field and 44% from behind the arc during that ten-game stretch, which is borderline unfathomable. Additionally, the Lakers have allowed 116.4 points per game to them in that span.
Luckily, the Lakers will be going up against a depleted Clippers team that just traded four forwards to Philadelphia (K.J. Martin, Marcus Morris, Nic Batum, and Robert Covington) and will likely also not dress the players they got back in that move (James Harden and P.J. Tucker.) Even Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are questionable, giving this Clippers team very little in terms of depth.