LOS ANGELES LAKERS (15-16)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (25-8)
Tip-off: Friday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Clippers -4.5, Total: 205.5
Both Los Angeles teams look for their first wins of the 2013 calendar year when the Clippers play host the Lakers on Friday night.
After posting a perfect 16-0 SU record in December, the Clippers have lost both of their January games in blowout fashion. They fell 92-78 at Denver and 115-94 at Golden State on back-to-back nights, shooting a combined 37% FG and 60% FT. The Clips have been much better at Staples Center (a venue shared by both teams) though, going 15-3 SU (13-5 ATS) with 104.2 PPG, while allowing a mere 91.2 PPG at home. They have not lost at home since Nov. 26, running off 10 straight SU victories. The Lakers have dropped two of their past three games, including a shocking home loss to 9-point underdog Philadelphia on New Year's Day. Despite committing just seven turnovers, the Lakers could not buy a basket versus the Sixers, shooting 39.4% FG. This series has been evenly matched since the 2010 calendar year, with the Lakers holding the 6-5 SU advantage and the Clippers having the 7-4 ATS edge.
Who will win the clash of Los Angeles on Friday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have posted a stellar 21-12-1 ATS (64%) mark in the past six days and are 41-24-1 ATS (63%) since Dec. 22. StatFox Brian is 13-4 ATS (77%) during this span, while StatFox Dave is 10-7 ATS (59%) over the same timeframe. StatFox Scott is 8-1 ATS in the past six days, giving him a season Best Bets mark of 57% ATS (46-35), with Brian (55.4% ATS) and StatFox Gary (54% ATS) not far behind. The four experts are collectively 53.1% ATS (196-173-11) on Best Bets for the season.
The Lakers continue to be carried by SF Kobe Bryant, who leads the NBA with 30.3 PPG (48% FG) while adding 5.4 RPG and 4.7 APG. He's scored at least 30 points in 19 of 31 games this season, including 40 points in a 105-95 loss to the Clippers on Nov. 2. In the past four seasons, Bryant has lit up the Clips for 31.4 PPG on 50.4% FG, scoring at least 24 points in all 11 meetings. C Dwight Howard had a subpar effort in that Nov. 2 game, scoring just 13 points (4-of-7 FG, 5-of-10 FT) while being limited to 30 minutes due to foul trouble. He's also coming off a poor effort against the Sixers on New Year's Day, scoring his second-lowest point total of the season (seven) on 1-of-7 shooting. PG Steve Nash has done a fantastic job running the offense since returning to action on Dec. 22, dishing out 48 assists (9.6 APG) and just 12 turnovers in these five games, while shooting 59% FG. But he has had trouble with his shot against the Clippers in recent years, making just 38.6% FG in the past eight meetings. Lakers PF Pau Gasol has been struggling while playing through a sore foot, scoring just 12.8 PPG on 41% FG in six games since returning from his injury.
PG Chris Paul has done a masterful job dictating the Clippers offense with 9.2 APG and just 2.1 TOPG (4.3 Ast/TO ratio) for the season. In the earlier meeting with the Lakers this season, he had 15 assists and just one turnover. For his career, he scores 20.1 PPG with 11.9 APG in 24 games against the Lake Show. PF Blake Griffin also dominates the Lakers with a double-double (19.5 PPG, 10.9 RPG) in eight career meetings, but he's been struggling in his past three games with just 9.7 PPG on 9-of-27 FG and 11-of-22 FT. SG Jamal Crawford poured in 21 points against the Lakers in November and is coming off a 24-point effort at Golden State. The Clips expect to have SF Caron Butler (10.0 PPG) back on the court after missing Wednesday's contest due to personal reasons. Butler has 16.5 PPG on 44% 3-pt FG in 17 career games versus the Lakers.