The teams have never met in the postseason, but Thursday’s tilt between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will certainly have a playoff-like feel to it. Once sitting atop the Western Conference standings, the Lakers have plummeted and are looking to avoid the play-in tournament. They took a step forward last time out beating Denver to end a three-game slide. The Clips also ended a three-game losing streak beating Toronto on Tuesday night to remain within spitting distance of Phoenix and Utah for the top seed in the West.
This NBA matchup takes place on Thursday, May 6, 2021 and will air live on TNT with tip off at 10 p.m. ET from Staples Center.
Lakers vs Clippers Odds
Spread: Los Angeles Lakers +8 | Clippers -8
Money Line: Los Angeles Lakers +284 | Clippers -338
Season to Date
It’s been a tale of two seasons all wrapped into one for the Lakers, who started to feel better about the upcoming playoffs with the return of Anthony Davis and LeBron James from lengthy stays on the injured list. That excitement was short-lived, though. With the two stars in the lineup for the first time in months, the Lakers lost a pair of games then lost James again when he reinjured the ankle that originally put him on the shelf. The Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak beating Denver 93-89 on Monday. Davis played a big role in that game scoring 25 points. Everything was going well for the champs, who compiled a 21-7 record into mid-February. Then Davis was injured on Valentine’s Day and James went down a month later. Since Davis went down the Lakers are 16-21. Thankfully they built up enough of a cushion to stay in contention for a top six placement in the conference.
The Clippers are getting some bodies back, which is a plus as we near the postseason. The Clips already have their spot secured and welcomed back Patrick Beverley for their win over the Raptors. In his first game in nearly a month, Beverley scored eight points off the bench. “Just trying to get my legs under me. It’s a process, so don’t need to rush anything,” he said. Serge Ibaka has resumed practicing and Kawhi Leonard is back after missing several games with a sore foot. At 44-22 the Clippers are battling with three other teams for the top-four seeds. They have three fewer wins than Phoenix and Utah and are just ahead of Denver in the third slot. The Clippers can also sweep the season series with their neighbors from down the hall. They earned payouts in the first two meetings.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are likely to be a threat in the playoffs since they expect to have James and Dennis Schroeder back in the lineup. It will take time to get into game shape and the Lakers could fall into the play-in tournament meaning a few extra games just to get to the top eight. They are currently tied with Dallas for the No. 5 slot, a game ahead of Portland at the cutoff line. The Lakers also lost the tie-breaker with the Mavs when they were swept in Big D a few weeks ago.
At least they have Davis on the floor, and after a few games of lackluster play he came up large against the Nuggets. AD scored 25 points, hit a key bucket in the final minute and blocked a three-point shot late in the fourth to end Denver’s comeback bid. The Lakers had dropped six of seven games going 0-6-1 ATS entering that contest.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers rallied for a 105-100 win over Toronto on Tuesday night putting an end to their three-game losing streak. Buyer beware, though, when backing this team. The Clips failed to cover the 11-point line, their fifth straight ATS loss and sixth in the last seven games. Overall the Clips still have a solid record against the line going 36-29-1 ATS overall. And they’ve handled the Lakers this season with payout wins in both meetings. In fact, the Clips are 5-1 ATS in the last six games between the rivals.
Proving they can win even when Leonard isn’t a focal part of the offense makes the Clippers a tough out. Leonard took only six shots and had 13 points against the Raptors. Paul George and Marcus Morris each had 22 points and Reggie Jackson chipped in 18. “If they’re going to play defense like that, then I have to trust my teammates and make the right play every time. It’s not about me, it’s about the whole group,” Leonard said after the Toronto game.
Lakers at Clippers Predictions
Our picks: Los Angeles Lakers +8 / OVER 211
Defense has been a huge part of the recent series with the UNDER 5-1 in the last six encounters. And both teams have struggled to consistently score the basketball. I do expect things to pick up though, with Davis getting back in a groove and Leonard returning to the Clips rotation. The Lakers need to play with a sense of urgency like they did against Denver and they’ll keep the game close. I’ll take the points in a matchup that’s always heated.