NBA Betting Preview: Clippers and Lakers battle at Staples

By: Barry Daniels | Thursday, March 24, 2011

It’s a good thing Los Angeles does not have terribly cold weather because the city’s two pro basketball teams are having trouble finding covers. The Clippers and Lakers, both in pointspread funks and coming off overtime games, tangle Friday at Staples Center.

Tip-off for this Pacific Division matchup is set for 7:30 p.m. (PT).

The Clippers are off Wednesday’s 127-119 double overtime victory against the Washington Wizards. But the Clips did not cover as hefty 13 ½-point home favorites, marking their fifth straight pointspread failure. They are now 33-38-1 ATS in their first 72 endeavors.

The combined 246 points soared above the 203-point closing total, but the game would have barely gone ‘over’ during regulation. The contest was tied at 102 at the end of four quarters.

Though the ‘over’ is 36-35-1 in the Clippers’ first 72 overall outings, the ‘under’ is 20-17 in the club’s 37 dates at Staples Center.

Starting center Blake Griffin recorded the first triple-double of his career with 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists.

During a game full of near-finishes, the last dagger came from Clippers guard Randy Foye, who knocked down a three-pointer with 46.1 seconds left. That turned a three point lead into a six-point margin.

Earlier, the Clippers' Eric Gordon, who had 32 points, sent it into double overtime by nailing a three-pointer from the left wing with 1.9 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Vinny Del Negro’s club ranks 18th in the league offensively, averaging 98.9 points per game. The team is shooting 45.7 percent from the field (19th) and 34 percent from beyond the arc (26th).

The Lakers did the Clippers one better in their most recent game on Tuesday, going into triple overtime before outlasting the Phoenix Suns, 139-137.

While the Lakers are a league-best 13-1 SU after the all-star break, they continue to burn money at the betting window.

Phil Jackson’s troops failed to cover Tuesday as seven-point home favorites, marking their third straight spread failure and lowering their pointspread record to 34-36-1 overall and 13-21 at Staples Center.

The Lakers relinquished a 21-point third-quarter lead and a nine-point lead during the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers attack by scoring a season-high 42 points and adding 12 rebounds and nine assists in exactly 48 minutes. Lamar Odom also registered a season-high 29 points.

The Lakers were again playing without starting center Andrew Bynum, who was serving a league-imposed two-game suspension for last week’s flagrant foul. Bynum will be back in the lineup for Friday’s game against the Clippers.

These two residents of Staples Center have met three times this season, with the Lakers winning two straight-up and the Clippers covering the spread twice. In fact, the Clippers are 7-2 ATS in the last nine series meetings.

The initial meeting took place on Dec. 8, with the Lakers sneaking past the Clippers as 7 ½-point favorites, 87-86. The combined 173 points dipped well ‘under’ the 204 ½-point closing total.

The Clippers got revenge during the Jan. 16 rematch by upsetting the Lakers as five-point underdogs, 99-92. The combined 191 points again slipped ‘under’ the 196-point closing total.

The most recent matchup (Feb 25) was the most lopsided result. The Lakers registered a 108-95 victory and also covered the spread as 10 ½-point favorites. This was the lone meeting to go ‘over’ the total, which closed at 193 points.

It is interesting to note that the Lakers are 7-23 ATS in their last 30 games at Staples Center versus teams with a losing record.

This will be the Clippers’ first game of a back-to-back situation, as they will host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. The Lakers continue their seven-game homestand Sunday against the New Orleans Hornets.

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