The Los Angeles Lakers and star LeBron James match up with the Los Angeles Clippers in the Hallway Series for the third time on the year. The Lakers and Clippers split the first two games and play once more on the season after this affair. The Lakers are playing for their postseason lives as they sit four and a half games back of the San Antonio Spurs for the 8th seed in the Western Conference with just 19 games left to play. The Lakers are still down Lonzo Ball and may be missing Lance Stephenson as well while the Clippers are missing Wilson Chandler.
Despite trading away star Tobias Harris and fan-favorite Boban Marjanović, the Clippers have somehow continued their strong play in the loaded Western Conference. While not expected to make a deep postseason run, the Clippers have actually moved up in the standings, going 6-4 since the trade. The Clippers have gotten great play at times out of recently acquired rookie Landry Shamet alongside existing promising rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. However, the duo of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell have been the duo that continues to power the Clippers. Harrell’s energy is infectious and impacts the entire Clipper roster, resulting in a gritty bunch that prides itself on outhustling their opponent.
After dropping an embarrassing loss to the rebuilding Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers are fighting for their playoff lives at this point. While not mathematically eliminated with a loss, they would fall into an even deeper hole and would need to nearly win out the remainder of the season in order to have a shot to sneak into the playoffs. LeBron James has been posting some solid stat lines but has seemed to revert to his early-season ways where he struggles to close out games. Missing crucial free throws during a late comeback attempt against the Suns, LeBron was responsible for putting the final nail in the coffin for the Lakers. While the loss was a team effort, the Lakers need to see better fourth-quarter play from James.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Los Angeles Lakers Betting Line & Over/Under
(Betting Line and Total courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
- Los Angeles Clippers (36-29) vs Los Angeles Lakers (30-33)
- Monday, March 4th at 10:30 pm ET
- Point Spread: Los Angeles Lakers (-4)
- Point Total: 234
Los Angeles Clippers vs Los Angeles Lakers Betting Prediction
Despite the Los Angeles Lakers recent struggles, they are still favored over the Los Angeles Clippers by a four-point margin. The spread is a testament to the talent differential in the two teams, with the Lakers running out a team with multiple lottery draft picks to go alongside a generational basketball talent. The Clippers meanwhile are more of a mix of scrappy veteran role players complimenting some intriguing rookie prospects. Essentially an island of misfit toys, coach Doc Rivers has the Clippers playing a level of basketball that far exceeds their talent level in a loaded Western Conference.
The Lakers are in a state of disarray right now, but their backs are more or less against the wall. They understand that they need to win tonight and that a loss will likely ensure they’re watching the playoffs from their couches. Despite the gobs of talent, the Lakers are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NBA and cannot be trusted to pick up a win on any given night at this point.
That said, I do expect the Lakers to come out and defend like their lives depend on it. Typically a team that struggles to make stops late and is prone to zoning out during extended periods of the game, I fully expect the Lakers to play a hard 48 minutes of defense and give the Clippers a tough go at things. The Clippers aren’t the best defensive team in the league but have shown the capacity to hold the Lakers in check, evidenced by their win earlier in the year where the held the Lakers to 107 points.
Expect this game to be a bit more low scoring compared to the previous matchups as the Lakers should be playing with more of a playoff mentality. Given that the Lakers are extremely inconsistent, I don’t trust them as a four-point favorite and instead look to the point total. Given the playoff implications for the matchup, I can’t see this game getting too out of hand and expect the point total to come in well short of the 234 mark.
Pick: UNDER 234