It’s Easter Sunday and we have afternoon basketball action on ABC involving both men’s professional teams residing in the City of Angels. Choosing a winner for our NBA picks won’t be simple with the amount of valuable talent on the sidelines. Sportsbooks like BookMaker have the Clippers as 11-point faves against the NBA odds with the total at 215.
The Lakers and Clippers continue to have injury issues and their chances of grabbing the No. 1 or No. 2 seeds in the Western Conference seem to be sliding game by game. However, the next problem might be even worse as Denver and Portland are playing well and they are nipping at the heels of the L.A. clubs. This could mean one or both could slide all the way to fifth or sixth and never have a homecourt edge in any series. Granted, both have enough talent when completely healthy to win the ‘Larry’ trophy, but it would be a much tougher uphill battle to never have a home advantage series.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Sunday, April 04, 2021 – 03:30 PM EDT at Staples Center
Lakers Have to Take Winnable and 50-50 Games to Stay Afloat
After playing in Sacramento Friday, the laboring Lakers (21-18, 22-26-1 ATS) are 3-5 and 2-6 ATS in their last eight outings. Let’s be honest, take LeBron James and Anthony Davis off any roster in the NBA and that club is going to have a hard time winning games with salary cap restrictions.
Though coach Frank Vogel would never say this to his team or the media, he knows and frankly so do his players. Without James and Davis, the Purple and Gold don’t have the roster and specifically, the star power to compete with the elite on their schedule. That transfers the focus to what Vogel’s squad can more easily achieve, winning games against similar or inferior competition.
Because of how the Lakers roster has been assembled, none of the players that will suit up for them are considered top scoring options. That requires a different mindset and ability for a Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma or possibly newly acquired Andre Drummond to step into those roles. For this to work Sunday afternoon or any other games ahead, the individual has to prove themselves to gain their teammate's trust and accept a leadership role that they will have to give up later. However, from Vogel’s view and the team’s perspective, it's about the next contest, not the future. This needs to happen for the Lakers to maintain their spot in the West.
Clippers Are in Unique Situation that Could Go Either Way
With the Clippers (32-18, 27-22-1 ATS) having last played Thursday, they’ve had ample time to reflect on losses to Orlando and Denver the last two games. Make no mistake, this is a club missing Patrick Beverly, Serge Ibaka and others and when they regain 100 percent health and can maintain it, the Clippers are a force in the West.
Paul George is starting to appear to be a player that will continue to have nagging injuries at 30 and will only be capable of big performances occasionally. George revealed after the loss to Denver Thursday, that the bone edema in the second toe of his right foot was the reason he missed the last two games. This is the same injury that caused him to miss seven straight ballgames earlier. This causes him to have a less explosive first step driving to the basket or freeing himself from a defender.
This shifts the weight of the franchise to Kawhi Leonard to be a do-it-all performer. The Clips front office is hoping the trade for Rajon Rondo will rekindle the magic he provided to the Lakers in their title run. Yet, a better solution is more usage of Terance Mann, who is playing well and Nicolas Batum regaining his confidence.
The Point Spread Winner
Based on the point spread, the top sportsbooks are assuming George will play which explains the larger point spread. Just because the Lakers have offensive limitations, that doesn’t mean they cannot compete in this matchup for NBA picks.
The Clippers will have motivation off two losses and they are 23-11 ATS after an upset loss as a favorite. But off their victory over the Kings Friday, the Lakers want to show they can compete with their rivals and maybe send a message they are not about to roll over.
The Lakers are 17-7 ATS revenging a home loss with however who has played the last two seasons and slide under the number for the cover.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.