As the NBA heads to the All-Star break, it’s clear the Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles.
The Clippers lead the Pacific Division with 38-17 record. The Lakers trail them 12 games in the standings and are currently out of the playoffs. They remain 2.5 games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth and final postseason spot.
In the final contest before the break, both L.A. teams will square off. The Lakers will be considered the home team. The matchup is set to get underway at 10:30 p.m. eastern time at Staples Center. Viewers can watch the game live on TNT.
The Lakers have failed to win in both of their previous meetings with the Clippers this season. Chris Paul was dominant in both games, dishing out 28 combined assists. Kobe Bryant has gotten his points, putting up 40 and 38 points in each defeat.
Since the last time these two clubs have met, Bryant has focused more on distributing the ball. On Tuesday, Bryant didn’t attempt a shot in the first half. He ended up with four points and nine assists in the Lakers win over the Phoenix Suns. The shooting guard finished with eight turnovers, as well.
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Dwight Howard seems to have benefited from Bryant’s new style of play. Earlier in the season, he complained about not getting enough touches. Against Phoenix, though, he led the club with 19 points.
The Clippers will play the second game of a back-to-back. Los Angeles beat the Houston Rockets 106-96. Blake Griffin led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
It was the Clippers third straight win. They seem to have recovered from a stretch that saw them lose eight out of their last 11 games. Several of those losses came with Paul out due to injury.
Betting Line: Los Angeles Clippers -3.5, 200
Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers 104, Los Angeles Lakers 94