It has been over four months since the last NBA game was played, but on Thursday, the season is set to resume with a duo of games. In the nightcap, a pair of Western Conference and city rivals take on each other as the second-place Los Angeles Clippers (44-20) battle the first-place Los Angeles Lakers (49-14). Tipoff for this one is scheduled for 9:00 pm ET from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena in Walt Disney World.
For the Clippers, they currently sit in second in the West, 5.5 games behind the Lakers, and 1.5 games ahead of the Denver Nuggets. For the Lakers, they now sit in the driver’s seat of the West and, like the Clippers, are not in jeopardy of missing the playoffs.
According to FanDuel, the Los Angeles Lakers come into this one as four-point favorites. The over/under on points scored sits at 216.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, the Los Angeles Clippers hold a slight edge. They rank 4th in the NBA in points per game, averaging 116.2. For the Lakers, they come in just a few spots below at 7th averaging 114.3 points per game.
On the defensive side, it is the Lakers who hold the advantage. They currently rank 3rd in the NBA, allowing just 106.9 points per game. For the Clippers, they come in at 13th, allowing 109.7 points per game.
Clippers Trying To Make A Point
The Los Angeles Clippers have the perfect blend for a championship contender. They have superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George while also boasting one of the league’s deepest lineups.
In terms of Leonard, during 51 games this season, he averaged 26.9 ppg on 46.9% shooting with 7.3 rebounds and five assists per game. For forward Paul George, he played in 42 games averaging 21 points with 5.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
Other significant contributors for the Clippers include Montrezl Harrell (18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds), Marcus Morris Sr. (17.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 rebounds), and Lou Williams (18.7 points, 5.7 assists). Throw in others like Patrick Beverly and Ivica Zubac, and they have quite the formidable team.
Lakers Looking To Dynamic Duo
For the Los Angeles Lakers, any championship talk starts with their two stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. For James, in 60 games, the future Hall-of-Famer averaged 25.7 points on 49.8% shooting along with 7.9 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game.
While James has been a force this season, he can’t do it without Davis. The Lakers are ecstatic for the restart as Davis will be a free agent this offseason and could have had nothing to show for his strong year f the league was completely shut down.
There is some concern that Davis could not play Thursday as he suffered an eye injury over the weekend. However, after taking Monday’s scrimmage off, he appears to be headed in the right direction and should be a go. In 55 games this season, he averaged 26.7 points on 51.1% shooting, along with 9.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
Taking The Clippers And The Points
Even though they share the Staples Center, there is even less of a homecourt advantage in this one as the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World doesn’t allow fans to attend games. As a result, this one comes down to simple gameplay.
The Clippers are a bit of a better scoring team while the Lakers excel on defense, but neither are slouches on either side of the court. As a result, I see this one being close down to the wire. With those expectations high, I am inclined to take the points. As a result, my money is on the Clippers getting the four points.