Los Angeles Clippers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U)
NBA: Thursday, October 19, 2017, Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, 10:30 pm ET
Line: LA Clippers -5; Over/Under: 218.5
It’s a matchup of Pacific Division foes in the City of Angels. The Los Angeles Clippers are the visitors in their own building as they face the Los Angeles Lakers in the season opener for both teams Thursday night. The Clippers finished 51-31 in the regular season, good for fourth in the Western Conference, but lost in seven games in the first round of the playoffs to the Jazz. The Lakers were 26-56 in 2016-17, making them the second worst team in the West, 15 games behind Portland for the final playoff spot. In the all-time regular season series, the Lakers have a commanding 145-67 edge but the Clippers have won 14 of the last 15 meetings, including three of four last season.
LA Clippers Hoping to Make It Past First Round
LA had their ups and downs last season but their inability to protect their home court against the Jazz cost them a first-round exit. The Clippers still have not made even a conference finals appearance in the history of the franchise, which dates back to the Buffalo Braves in the 1970-71 season. Changes were made in the offseason: coach Doc Rivers was removed from his role as team president. In addition, Chris Paul was dealt to the Rockets along with Luc Mbah a Moute. Paul Pierce retired while Jamal Crawford, Marreese Speights, J.J. Redick and Raymond Felton all left via free agency. The Clippers did bring in some solid pieces as Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams came in the Paul deal. LA also acquired Danilo Gallinari, Willie Reed and flashy passing point guard Milos Teodosic.
The Clippers finished last season 6th in the league in scoring offense with 108.7 points per game. LA was 21st in the league in rebounding with 43 boards per game and 15th in assists with 22.5 per contest. The Clippers were solid defensively, ranking 12th in scoring defense by allowing 104.4 points per game. Blake Griffin led the team with 21.6 points plus 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. DeAndre Jordan put up 12.7 points and 13.8 rebounds per night. Williams, Dekker, Beverley, Gallinari, Teodosic and Austin Rivers (12 points) are key pieces in the rotation. Rivers strained a hamstring against the Wizards and his return for the start of the postseason is up in the air at the second. LA is 4th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.5 percent from the floor. The Clippers are 8th in three pointers a game with 10.3 and 4th in three point shooting as they hit 37.5 percent of their long range attempts.
Los Angeles Lakers Looking to Improve
Los Angeles floundered near the bottom of the Western Conference standings again in 2016-17. The Lakers missed the postseason for the fourth straight year: the team had missed the postseason just five times in franchise history from 1948-49 through 2012-13. Los Angeles’s big offseason move saw them acquire Brook Lopez from the Nets. The Lakers also drafted polarizing guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick while Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma are other rookies that could be factors. Los Angeles also added Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andrew Bogut via free agency. The Lakers saw Nick Young sign with the Warriors and Tarik Black sign with Houston while Timofey Mozgov along with D’Angelo Russell were shipped to Brooklyn in the Lopez deal.
The Lakers were 17th in the league in scoring offense last season as they put up 104.6 points per game. Los Angeles was 17th in rebounding with 43.5 per contest and 26th in assists with 20.9 per game. The Lakers finished 28th in the league in scoring defense as they allowed 111.5 points per night. Lopez averaged better than 20 points a night for the Nets last season. Julius Randle put up 13.2 points plus 8.6 rebounds while Jordan Clarkson was good for 14.7 points a night. Ball, Brandon Ingram, Luol Deng, Corey Brewer and Larry Nance Jr. are key players in the mix for Los Angeles. The Lakers were tied for 20th in the league in field goal percentage as they shot 45 percent as a team. Los Angeles was tied for 17th in the league with 8.9 triples per game while finishing 22nd in three point shooting at 34.6 percent from downtown.
- Clippers are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 3 or more days rest
- Lakers are 4-14-1 ATS in their last 19 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
The battle of the City of Angels should be an interesting matchup as Ball makes his regular season NBA debut in this contest. He battled a sprained ankle in the preseason and has a lot to prove thanks to LaVar Ball’s mouth. The Clippers have a lot of turnover in their roster from last season but they have plenty of talent to work with on both ends of the floor. The Lakers don’t have the pieces to keep up as the Clippers ring up their 15th win in the last 16 meetings, even with being in the visitor’s dressing room of their own arena.