For the second time this season, Tinseltown will be on display, as the Los Angeles Clippers try to take control of the city when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers in a battle of the two tenants at the Staples Center.
Lob City has had an interesting season, but at 9-5, there is no doubt that it has the ability to crash the playoff party this year. The Clip Joint is going to get back Chris Paul in the lineup in all likelihood after sitting out of the fold with a hamstring injury. Chauncey Billups has taken over as a more traditional point guard with Paul out, and the end result has still been fantastic. The problem hasn’t been playing here at the Staples Center, where the Clippers are 8-2, but on the road, they have only played four road games and have gone just 1-3. Of course, this isn’t really a “road game” against the Lakers, but it still might have that same sort of feel with the fans of the purple and gold in the crowd. Blake Griffin has had his share of good games against the Lakers in his career, including going for 22 points and 14 boards on them the first time around this year. It is yet another opportunity for the former Oklahoma Sooner to prove that he is worthy of a massive contract in the offseason, and we aren’t ones to doubt him after averaging 21.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game thus far this year.
The Lakers might already have 10 wins this year, but for whatever reason, it still really doesn’t feel like they are the better team in their own building, let alone good enough to really contend for the Western Conference title again this year. Kobe Bryant has put the team on his back and is leading the NBA in scoring at 30.5 points per game, but he definitely has his flaws. He is averaging 3.7 turnovers per game, one of the higher numbers in the league, and he is only shooting 25.6 percent from beyond the arc. In fact, this is a huge problem for the Lakers in general, as there isn’t a single player on the team that is even knocking down more than 36 percent of their three point field goal attempts. This is part of the reason why the team is down in terms of scoring this year and why 100+ point games, which were the norm in the triangle offense of Phil Jackson, are so hard to come by now under current Head Coach Mike Brown.
The Final Word: Any opportunity that the Clippers get to take down the Lakers is a big one, and this is no exception. With a healthy CP3 in the fold, the Clippers should be able to get the job done, even as the de facto road team in this game. Kobe is going to need some help to win this game, and we just don’t think that he has the oomph to help him out in this one that we are used to. There is a reason why the Clip Joint is 5-1 ATS in the last six in this series.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers Pick: Los Angeles Clippers
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.