NBA Picks: Bet Lakers +9 In Second Of Home-And-Home With Clippers

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 6:56 PM GMT

Assuming he plays, it's Kobe Bryant's final game against the rival L.A. Clippers on Wednesday as the Lakers and their Staples Center co-tenants complete a home-and-home. The Clips are -11.5 "road" favorites on BetOnline's NBA odds with a total of 207.

Tuesday's Game/Season Series
The Clippers were 15-point favorites at sportsbooks on Tuesday as the home team against the Lakers and rolled 103-81 in Kobe's final game as a visitor at Staples Center. Chris Paul had 25 points and Jeff Green 21 off the bench in the Clips' 10th straight win in the series. Because it was such a blowout, no Clippers starter even reached 30 minutes. Bryant had just six points on 2-for-12 shooting. Jordan Clarkson had 10 points and needed X-rays on his right foot/leg but they came back negative so he should play here. The Clippers had little trouble in the first two meetings, winning 94-84 on Christmas and 105-93 on Jan. 29.

 

Clippers On Cruise Control For Now
The Clippers (49-28) really have nothing to play for the rest of the way as they are locked into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They have to be totally rooting for the Memphis Grizzlies to get the No. 5 seed and be the first-round playoff opponent. The Grizz have lost their two best players, point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, for the season. Also done are big man Brandan Wright and guard Mario Chalmers. It's basically a  D-League team right now that doesn't even belong in the Western Conference playoffs. Most likely the Clippers will face either the Grizzlies or Portland Trail Blazers in Round 1.

There is one thing for the Clippers to focus on the rest of the way: integrating Blake Griffin back into the swing of things. He played for the first time since Christmas on Sunday off his broken hand/quad injury/suspension and had six points, five rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes. He played 17 minutes on Tuesday. Coach Doc Rivers has said he plans to sit Griffin one more game before the season ends. But it apparently won't be here. Rivers said he will have a better fell what kind of shape Griffin is in following the back-to-back set.

The coach did say he might rest a few starters here, however. DeAndre Jordan could be one as he has a minor ankle injury. Paul could also be a candidate. The Clippers can make history this season. They have the NBA leaders in field goal percentage (Jordan), 3-point percentage (J.J. Redick) and free-throw percentage (Jamal Crawford). No team in history has had the leader in all three in one season. Jordan will win his title as he leads by a mile. Redick is good shape over No. 2 Steph Curry. Crawford also likely has an insurmountable lead over No. 2 Curry.

The Clippers are 37-37-3 against the spread on NBA odds this season and 32-45 'over/under.'

 

Lakers Having Worst Season Ever
The Lakers are in the midst of the worst season in franchise history, with that whole Nick Young/D'Angelo Russell mess briefly overshadowing Kobe's final few games of his Hall of Fame career. Young hasn't played since March 10 and won't the rest of the way as Coach Byron Scott admitted early this week that Young isn't "mentally" with the team. Young finishes with career-low marks in points per game (7.3), 3-point percentage (32.5) and field-goal percentage (33.9). He won't be a Laker next season. Scott probably won't be, either.

As for Bryant, he has said he wants to play all of the rest of the games so presumably will give it a go here. But will he get to face off against his friend Paul? Bryant earlier this week admitted he still wonders how many titles the Lakers might have won had the NBA not voided a trade of Paul from New Orleans in December 2011. Then-commissioner David Stern nixed it for "basketball reasons." The league owned the Pelicans at the time. Kobe and Paul have played in six All-Star Games together (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016) for the Western Conference and won gold medals for the U.S. men's Olympic team in 2008 and 2012. Neither will play in Rio this summer. Bryant wasn't invited, while Paul probably would have been on the team but withdrew from consideration in late March to spend more time with his family.

The Lakers are 34-43 ATS on NBA picks this season and 34-42-1 O/U.

I actually like the Lakers here. Clippers don't care about this game and they either may rest key guys or limit their minutes. Tough to rout a team twice in 24 hours. The Clippers are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. The Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their past six home games vs. teams with a winning road record. Go 'under' the total. The 'under' is 6-0 in the past six meetings.  

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NBA Pick: Lakers +9
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle