NBA Tips & Preview – Clippers @ Lakers

The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as crosstown rivals LA Lakers and LA Clippers square off for the third time this season. 

14:00 (AEDT), Sat 26th Feb @ Arena, Los Angeles

History: Played 229: Lakers 150 V Clippers 79

Last meeting: February 3, 2022: Clippers 111 d Lakers 110 at Arena

Final Thoughts: The Lakers and Clippers both went into the All-Star break on the back of a much-needed win, but both teams have plenty to do if they’re to avoid the Western Conference play-in tournament.

The Clippers have won 26 of their last 32 against the Lakers – including the last five straight. In two tight derbies so far this season, the Clippers won 119-115 in early-December and 111-110 three weeks ago. Marcus Morris (29 pts, 7 reb) hit six of seven three-point attempts in the latter clash, while Reggie Jackson (25 pts, 8 reb, 6 reb) and Serge Ibaka (20 pts, 8 reb) also stood tall. Antony Davis (30 pts, 17 reb) and Malik Monk (21 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast) led the way for the Lakers with LeBron James missing.

Ibaka, though, headed to the Bucks before the trade deadline. The Clippers got Rodney Hood and Semi Ojele in return in a four-team deal. Meanwhile, Norman Powell and Robert Covington also landed at the Clippers with Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow and Keon Johnson heading to Portland. There was no movement at the Lakers before the deadline.

The injury-hit, beleaguered, 27-31 Lakers have won just six of their last 18 games. They ended a three-game slide with a 106-101 home win over the Jazz before the break, with the irrepressible Lebron (33 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast) carrying the team with 15 points in a fourth-quarter rally. In a continuation of the Lakers’ injury woes, Anthony Davis suffered a foot injury and played only 16 minutes. AD is out for another three weeks at least, joining Kendrick Nunn, Carmelo Anthony and Avery Bradley in the casualty ward.

LeBron is listed as questionable to take on the Clippers.

The 30-31 Clippers are one place ahead in eighth and have dealt with their injury crisis comparatively well. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t laced up this season and Paul George was last sighted on December 22. Powell has missed their last four games Jay Scrubb is to undergo season-ending toe surgery.

But the Clippers have been jagging enough wins to at least stay in the top-six frame. The went into the All-Star break winning three of their last four, beating the Mavericks (99-97) and Warriors (119-104) before bouncing back from a loss to the NBA-leading Suns (103-96) by thrashing the Rockets (142-111).

Ivica Zubac is set to relish the opportunity Ibaka’s exit opens up, averaging 13.5 points and 10.3 boards in his last four games. Morris and Jackson have stepped into the Leonard-George breach, offensively at least, in impressive style.

The Lakers are 18-14 at Arena this season, winning eight of their last 12. The Clippers are 19-13 at the shared venue, winning six of their last seven.

The Lakers are the narrowest of favourites in a near pick ’em – with the LeBron factor by far their biggest advantage. His absence would cripple the Lakers’ chances but expect him to suit up. But I’ll take the more cohesive, healthier Clippers here on their back of their solid pre-All-Star performances.

Best Bet: Result – Clippers @ $1.93