The Los Angeles Clippers are bidding for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs while their arena-mates are trying to maximize their ping pong balls for the draft lottery. The Clippers will serve as host and try to take advantage of the Los Angeles Lakers when they meet on Saturday.
The Clippers are still trying to figure out some things on the defensive end but made up for it on the other end of the floor while averaging 128.5 points in back-to-back wins. The Clippers pulled within one game of the Utah Jazz for the No. 4 spot with Thursday’s 124-118 win at the Phoenix Suns and will play four of their final five games as the home team, with the lone road date a trip to San Antonio on April 8. The Lakers sit a half-game behind the Suns in last place in the West and are losers of three straight and 17 of the last 19. First-year coach Luke Walton is leaning heavily on the youngest players on his roster as the team tries to figure out the building blocks for the next great Lakers’ teams.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Spectrum Sportsnet (Lakers), Prime Ticket (Clippers)
LINE HISTORY: The Clippers opened as 14.5 chalk over the tanking Lakers and that line appears fine with bettors as it has yet to move. As for the total, it hit the betting board at 224 and like the spread hasn’t moved off that opening number. Check out the complete line history here.
Lakers – SF Brandon Ingram (Probable, knee), SG Nick Young (Out indefinitely, Coach’s Decision), C Ivica Zubac (Out For Season, ankle), SF Luol Deng (Out For Season, Coach’s Decision), C Timofey Mozgov (Out For Season, Coach’s Decision)
Clippers – PG Austin Rivers (Mid-April, Hamstring), C Diamond Stone (Out Indefinitely, knee)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Lakers (4.8) – Clippers (-6.4) + home court (-3) = Clippers -14.2
ABOUT THE LAKERS (21-54 SU, 31-42-2 ATS, 43-31-1 O/U): One potential building block – rookie small forward Brandon Ingram – sat out the last three games with patellar tendinitis but hopes to return before the end of the season. The 19-year-old Duke product averaged 35.5 minutes in the first 11 games of March and responded to the increase in playing time by posting 13.5 points on 51.7 percent shooting – his best numbers in any month this season. The Lakers are hoping to get more consistency from 22-year-old power forward Julius Randle, who posted a double-double in Thursday’s 119-104 loss at Minnesota after totaling 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting in the previous two games.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (46-31 SU, 37-40 ATS, 42-34-1 O/U): The Clippers shot 56.6 percent from the floor in a win over Washington on Wednesday and 55 percent in Thursday’s triumph, and the recent scoring surge is being led by stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Griffin came up one assist shy of a triple-double in Wednesday’s game and followed it up with 31 points on 12-of-19 shooting the next night. Paul posted back-to-back double-doubles for the first time this month in the last two games while shooting a combined 19-of-32 from the field and totaling two turnovers against 23 assists.
* Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 9-2 in Lakers last 11 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 8-2 in Clippers last 10 vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
* Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
* Lakers are 3-13 ATS in the last 16 meetings in Los Angeles.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The underdog Lakers are getting 53 percent of the point spread action and total wagers are split 50/50 among Covers users. View full consensus data here.