Clippers vs. Lakers NBA Odds, Preview and Prediction

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LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

The battle of Los Angeles resumes as the Clippers (11-11) take on the Lakers (12-11) in the first of four meetings this season. The Clippers swept the three meetings a season ago, but the Lakers get LeBron James back from a false-positive COVID test while Kawhi Leonard (ACL) remains out for the struggling Clippers. Let’s see the NBA odds.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Friday, December 3, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at STAPLES Center

The Lakers have the worst spread record in the NBA (8-15 ATS), but they are a 1-point favorite over the Clippers (9-13 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. The Lakers came back in the second half to blow out the Kings on Tuesday night. The Clippers have lost three in a row, including Wednesday’s 124-115 loss to those same Kings, but Paul George is back for this one.

Clippers: 3-7 Since Win Streak Ended

The Clippers have not been playing good basketball as of late. Since a seven-game winning streak, the Clippers are 3-7 in their last 10 games. They rank 24th in Net Rating (-5.7) during that time as the offense remains the biggest problem. The Clippers are basically a two-man show with Paul George and Reggie Jackson, but George got Wednesday night off for rest and to heal his ankle. It was the first game he missed this season.

Unfortunately, the Clippers did not take care of business against the Kings without George. The Clippers allowed a season-high 124 points as Sacramento shot 52.3% from the field. Luke Kennard and Terance Mann each scored a team-high 19 points off the bench, but it was garbage-time production for the Clippers in the 124-115 loss.

George was good in the three wins against the Lakers last season. He shot 61.4% from the field and averaged 24.3 points per game. He is having a strong season and the rest should help to get him prepared for this key matchup. It could help if George draws the defense of Anthony Davis and tires him out.

Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers. Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images/AFP

These teams are similarly below average at rebounding and turning the ball over. They also both shoot the three at 34.8%, though the Clippers rely on it a little more than the Lakers. The Clippers have been playing better defense than the Lakers this year, though the Lakers are turning to a different lineup for this matchup that could be pivotal.

Lakers: Welcome Back LeBron (and Dwight)

As if this season hasn’t been dramatic enough for the Lakers. LeBron James went from being diagnosed with COVID-19 to being cleared by two negative PCR tests for the virus. He is good to go for Friday night, though he still is recovering from that abdominal strain.

In his last three games, LeBron has looked stellar, averaging 34.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 8.7 assists while shooting 47.3% from the field. He scored at least 30 points in each game. Anthony Davis has been somewhat consistent this season and the Lakers are 8-4 when he scores at least 24 points.

Russell Westbrook has played in every game this season and has come alive offensively. In the last six games, Westbrook is averaging 25.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and shooting 49.5%. A big change is expected to come at the center. DeAndre Jordan has started most of the season but has largely been ineffective.

The Lakers expect to give veteran Dwight Howard his first start of the season. Against the Kings, Howard played a season-high 35 minutes and rewarded the team with 12 points and 13 rebounds as he was a plus-27. With the Clippers having their best players play small ball, the Lakers could have a big advantage with Davis and Howard in this matchup in addition to the return of James.


The Lakers have used the four-man lineup of LeBron, Davis, Westbrook, and Howard for just five minutes this season. Friday night could be a new experiment, but it is four Hall of Famers with some playing well as of late. The Clippers should be competitive with George back, but I trust the Lakers to pull out the win for your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Lakers -1 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Lakers -1 (-110)
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