Los Angeles Clippers vs Los Angeles Lakers 12/22/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Matchup Preview
The 2020 NBA Finals doesn’t seem that long ago as the Lakers will now hang their banner with the rival Clippers standing on the opposite side of them. These two last year were considered the easy favorites for the Western Conference, but we saw the Clippers crumble in the postseason. This led to Doc Rivers’ departure, but we also saw Montrez Harrell join the crosstown rivals. The Lakers had a tremendous offseason, especially adding Dennis Schroder. You could argue this year’s team is better than last. The Clippers signed Paul George to a long-term deal and have also brought in Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka, and Luke Kennard. Tyrone Lue will take over head coaching duties as the Clippers try and get back on track this season. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers Matchup Page.
Time: 10:00 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles CA
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Clippers Starting 5
The Clippers were an up and down team last year and needed to be more consistent this season. They averaged 116 points per game and allowed 109 points per game. Defensively was where they struggled at times, which should be a key focus for them this year. Both teams were strong on the glass, but surprisingly the Clippers ranked higher. Ball movement wasn’t a strong suit for the Clippers, ranking 22nd in assists last season. They also didn’t produce many steals or blocks. This is where they lack behind the Lakers, who ranked top-five in both and were top-ten in assists. Kawhi Leonard’s first year in Los Angeles was as expected. He shot 47% from the field and averaged 27 points per game. He also had five assists per game. Paul George averaged 21 points per game and had a solid year behind the line, shooting 41% from three. Los Angeles is going to need to get some stable production out of the secondary players. Otherwise, this season is going to go south in a hurry.
Lakers Starting 5
Coming off a title-winning season, the Lakers were strong in just about every category except turnovers. This is a good rebounding team, and defensively they could lock down the rim with Davis. While Marc Gasol isn’t exactly a powerhouse center anymore, he is a solid body that they brought in for cheap this offseason. Los Angeles averaged 6.6 blocks per game last season, and I would expect them to be top-five again. The addition of Dennis Schroder is a really nice piece for the Lakers. He averaged 18/9 points per game last season, shooting 47% from the field and 38% from three. Getting shooters around LeBron was a goal last year, but this is an improvement. While Schroder will sacrifice some defense for scoring, it is a solid trade-off. Schroder drastically improved his scoring last season and took five threes a game. With the Lakers not taking many threes last season, it might go up a tad this year with the Schroder addition.
Clippers & Lakers DFS Angle
Only a two-game slate tonight, but there are so many superstars on the slate. DFS will be a bit tricky with teams early on as the rotations will feel the effect of a shortened offseason. You also have to look at the Lakers playing until the end and having the shortest offseason out of any team besides Miami. We might not get a full dose of minutes for the big names. Anthony Davis and LeBron James are the obvious big names on the Lakers and carry the team’s highest usage rates. When a team is built around two superstars like this, the allocation of fantasy points is limited to surrounding options. The addition of Dennis Schroder is an interesting one as he will be a strong secondary scoring option.
He will certainly have the advantage of playing alongside James at times. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris get some extra run with the lesser minutes for the studs. As for the Clippers side of things, we deal with a similar scenario. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George command most of the usage and are strong plays. Lou Williams has been the higher usage play off the bench and certainly has the highest upside out of secondary players in this game on both sides. The addition of Ibaka is an interesting one, and he goes up against Marc Gasol, who both left Toronto this offseason. He should be around the 20-25 mark in minutes and is at a reasonable price.
Clippers vs. Lakers Betting Odds
Clippers Spread: +2
Clippers Moneyline: +145
Lakers Spread: -2
Lakers Moneyline: -165
Over/Under Points Total: 219.5
Opening nights can always be a toss-up, especially for teams raising a banner. We have seen home teams not deliver that big performance, and we have to be careful here. The Lakers are two-point favorites tonight, and we have heard talks about more limited minutes for their guys. Obviously, Vegas knows this information, which might be why this is a two-point spread compared to four or five. I still like the Lakers to cover this one. I like the additions over the offseason and know what they bring to the table. The Clippers, I still don’t know how they’ll gel after a turbulent offseason and playoff run. This has been a tight series dating back to last year, but the under has been pretty favorable, but both teams are even on the spread. Overall this should be a fun one, and the spread being this low makes me more comfortable taking the Lakers.
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