It hasn’t been much of a “Battle of Los Angeles” as the Los Angeles Clippers (44-22) are closing in on a 3-0 season sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers (37-28). The NBA odds have the Clippers a -360 favorite, or eight points on the point spread, while the Lakers are +300 underdogs.
The injury-ravaged Lakers have an uphill climb as the Clippers are close to being full strength. They already thumped the Lakers 104-86 as a 10½-point favorite previously and should have another resounding win here thanks to a deeper team and better scoring.
Has anyone seen Anthony Davis lately? He’s supposed to be this dominant force that single-handedly carries a team. Davis had a solid game against Denver with 25 points and is averaging 20 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 32 minutes in his last six appearances. In the season opener against the Clippers, he posted 18 points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
His betting line suggests he’s still posting his numbers from last season, which hasn’t been the case.
Pick: Anthony Davis (LAL) Total Points+Rebounds+Assists – Under 34½ Points+Rebs+Assists (-120)
Marcus Morris: The Third Star
This journeyman is a scorer without a conscience. Marcus Morris once proclaimed himself as the best man to defend LeBron James. Well, James made him eat his words and he’s been primarily a scorer now. But he does that well as he dropped 22 points on the Lakers in their previous meeting.
Since that big game against the Lakers 14 games ago, Morris has averaged 16.8 points and has eclipsed the 20-point barrier five times. He’s streaky, but he’s only failed to hit the 15-point mark once in his last 10 games. Bank on him to get it going here.
Pick: Marcus Morris (LAC) Total Points – Over 14½ Points (-110)
Ivica Zubac: Big Man is the X-Factor
The former Lakers draft pick has been quietly productive as a starter for the Los Angeles Clippers. Zubac is averaging 10.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in just under 27 minutes as part of the first five.
With Ivica Zubac on the floor tonight, the Clippers had a 104.3 Defensive Rating. It was 140.9 when he sat.
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) May 2, 2021
With F/C Serge Ibaka (back) sidelined indefinitely, Zubac has little competition for minutes. His biggest concern is his fouling as he’s averaged 4.5 fouls against the Lakers. Still, he managed to average 8.5 points, 7.5 boards, and an assist and should play a sizable role again.
Pick: Ivica Zubac (LAC) Total Points+Rebounds+Assists – Over 17½ Points+Rebs+Assists (-115)
Team With Highest Scoring Quarter: Clippers Crush
This prop obviously leans on the Clippers as they’re significantly better on offense. The Lakers have struggled on offense all season. James (ankle) and G Dennis Schroder (quarantine) are out and Davis has been more of an impediment than a boon for the team.
The Clippers have the second-best offense in the league. They’re hitting 14.6 threes a game at a 42.5% clip while scoring 116.4 points at home. They average around 30 points every quarter, save for the fourth most likely due to garbage time.
Even against the Raptors, an explosive team with hard-nosed defense, the Clippers posted the highest-scoring quarter as they shot 520/441/923 for the game. Whew.
The main concern here is the fourth period if it’s a blowout. The Lakers recorded the highest-scoring quarter the last time thanks to getting blown out. But with their playoffs on the line, expect this to be a more competitive affair.
Pick: Team With Highest Scoring Quarter – Clippers (-170)