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Paul-less Clippers favored big over slumping Lakers Friday
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 1/10/2014  at  6:09:00 AM
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LOS ANGELES LAKERS (14-22)

at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (25-13)

Tip-off: Friday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Clippers -10.5, Total: 209

The Clippers continue life without superstar PG Chris Paul when they take on the rival Lakers on Friday night.

The Lakers looked to be a resilient team at the beginning of the season, but have dealt with injury after injury to their veteran players and have dropped towards the bottom of the Western Conference. They have dropped nine of 10 games SU, and are currently riding a three-game losing streak in which they have been defeated by an average of 16.3 PPG. Most recently they took on the Rockets in Houston on Wednesday, losing 113-99 while allowing James Harden to score 38 points and Dwight Howard to get his first win against his former team. The Clippers lost superstar PG Chris Paul four games ago against the Mavericks and have gone 3-1 SU (2-2 ATS), including that game, since then. Their opponents have not been the toughest in the last two matchups though, beating the Magic and Celtics while at home. The Lakers are a poor 6-12 SU (8-9-1 ATS) when playing on the road this season, and even though they will still be playing on their home court, there should be many more Clippers fans in attendance. This bodes well for the Clips though, as they are one of the best home teams in the NBA, going 16-3 SU there while compiling a 10-9 ATS record. The two teams met for the first time this season on Opening Night on Oct. 29 when the Lakers pulled off a big upset, defeating the 10-point favorite Clippers 116-103, and dominating in the fourth quarter, outscoring them 41-24. But the Clippers swept last season's series (4-0 SU and ATS), and this game figures to be high-scoring with the total going over in 10 consecutive meetings between the Los Angeles teams. The Clippers are 195-251 ATS (43.7%) after allowing 105+ points since 1996, but have gone 18-7 ATS (72%) when revenging a straight-up loss versus an opponent as a favorite over the past two seasons. The Lakers will continue to be without a slew of players -- SG Kobe Bryant (knee), PG Steve Nash (back), PG Steve Blake (elbow), PG Jordan Farmar (hamstring) and SG Xavier Henry (knee) -- while the Clippers remain without Paul and SG Reggie Bullock (ankle), but look forward to the probable return of SG J.J. Redick from his wrist injury.

Will the Clippers get their payback with a double-digit win over the rival Lakers? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts are sizzling on NBA Best Bets since the start of December, going 61% ATS (83-53-1) including 64% ATS (57-32-1) since Dec. 16. StatFox Zach has a huge 74% ATS mark (20-7-1) since Dec. 1 and is currently 60% ATS (31-21-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave has an excellent 68% ATS (19-9) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 56% ATS (29-23) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Scott is 68% ATS (13-6) in Best Bets since Dec. 16, while StatFox Gary is 65% ATS (11-6) in this same timeframe. Since Dec. 12, StatFox Brian has a 58% ATS (11-8) Best Bets record.

Even without a leader on the court, the Lakers have managed to score a decent 99.6 PPG (16th in NBA), including 105.3 PPG over their past four contests. These numbers would mean a lot more if their defense could put up any type of effort, as they have allowed 104.6 PPG to their opponents on the season (3rd-most in NBA), including 114.8 PPG in those same four games. PF Pau Gasol (15.8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.5 BPG) has been playing much better lately with four straight double-doubles (21.0 PPG, 13.0 RPG). His 15 points and 13 rebounds the first time these teams met helped the Lakers to the victory, while he has scored 17.2 PPG (52% FG) to go along with 9.3 RPG in 38 career games against the Clippers. SF Nick Young (16.4 PPG) continues to be the teamís leading scorer, but has not provided much more. He has netted 20+ points in eight of his past 11 games (20.0 PPG on 42% FG), but scored only 13 points on 3-of-10 FG in this matchup earlier in the season. Young has scored 12.1 PPG (43% FG) in 12 career games (5 starts) when taking on the cross-town rival. SG Jodie Meeks (13.7 PPG, 1.3 SPG) has been on fire over the past three games, averaging 22.7 PPG (24-of-26 FT) and 2.7 SPG in three Lakers losses. He was solid the first time these teams met (13 points, 3 rebounds) but will need to improve those numbers if the team hopes to stay close in this one.

The Clippers score 104.8 PPG this season (5th in NBA) on 23.8 APG (4th in league), and have looked strong without Chris Paul over the past two games, scoring 106.0 PPG and winning by an average of 13.0 PPG. The defense has been typical over the past five contests, allowing 99.8 PPG, which is nearly identical to the 99.7 PPG (13th in NBA) it allows this season (99.7 PPG). PF Blake Griffin (22.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG) is coming off a monster game against the Celtics on Wednesday (29 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals), and had 19 points with seven rebounds in the first game between these teams. He has done very well in 12 career games in this matchup, averaging 20.4 PPG (49% FG) and 10.1 RPG. While SG J.J. Redick (15.8 PPG) was healing, SG Jamal Crawford (16.9 PPG) was getting some rare starts and tallied 21.0 PPG and 7.0 APG in his past thee games, including 26 points and six assists versus Boston. He scored 16.3 PPG (39% threes) against the Lakers last season and dropped 15 points (3-of-6 threes) on them in the first game this season. SG J.J. Redick (15.8 PPG) will be a welcome sight in his probable return to the court, as he has not played since Nov. 29. He had 13 points against the other L.A. team earlier in the season, and has scored only 7.0 PPG (39% FG) in 10 career games (2 starts) against the Lakers. PG Darren Collison (9.1 PPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG) has filled in well with Paul out, scoring 16.7 PPG on 62% FG (4-of-7 threes) while dishing out 6.3 APG and getting 2.7 SPG in the three games Paul has missed.

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