Los Angeles Clippers vs Los Angeles Lakers NBA Pick – December 22

The NBA season is set to kick off their shortened season on December 22. Two games will kick off the season on Tuesday Night. One of these matchups will be between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers. These two teams are coming off strong seasons and will look to reignite this rivalry early this season. This game will tip off at around 10:00 PM Eastern time on TNT.

The Clippers finished out last season with a record of 49-23, which put them in second place of the Western Conference. Los Angeles knocked off the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, but were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the second round. The Clippers will look to put up another strong season and look to make another push in the playoffs.

The Lakers put up a record of 52-19 throughout last season, which helped them earn the top spot in the Western Conference. Los Angeles beat out the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat in route to an NBA Championship. The Lakers will look to start their title defense with a win over their rival in Los Angeles.

These two teams dominated the Western Conference throughout the regular season last season and will look to start out the season strong against each other. The Lakers finished off the campaign with an NBA title, while the Clippers had a disappointing second round exit. I expect both teams to try and bounce back as they meet up to start the NBA Season.

Previous Matchups

These two teams met up four times throughout last season. The Clippers hosted the first game on October 22. Danny Green scored 28 points, while Anthony Davis dropped 25 points and 9 rebounds. LeBron James finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists, but it was not enough. Kawhi Leonard dropped 30 points, while the bench combined for 60 points as the Clippers won 112-102.

The second game of the season was back on Christmas Day. Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points, while Anthony Davis and LeBron James both scored over 20 points as well. Kawhi Leonard finished with 35 points and 12 rebounds. Montrezl Harrell scored 18 points and Paul George dropped 17 as the Clippers earned another win 111-106.

The Clippers hosted the third game of the season on March 8. Paul George finished with 31 points, while Kawhi Leonard scored 267 points. Montrezl Harrell scored 20 points, but the Clippers came up short. Anthony Davis had 30 points, while LeBron James finished with 28 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. Avery Bradley scored 24 points as the Lakers earned a 112-103 win.

The final game between these two teams was on July 30. Paul George finished with 30 points and Kawhi Leonard dropped 28. Anthony Davis put up a huge night, scoring 34 points. LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma both finished with 16 points as the Lakers were able to power their way to a 103-101 win during the qualifiers.

Top Performers

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both return to the Clippers this season as they try to return to form. Leonard averaged 27 points per game, while George was averaging 21.5 points per game. Lou Williams continues to be a key player off the bench, averaging 18 points per game. Los Angeles added Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum and Luke Kennard to their lineup for this season.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James are both back as they try to defend the Lakers title. Davis averaged 26 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season. James averaged 25.5 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists per game. Kyle Kuzma averaged 13 points per game last season. The Lakers added Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell throughout the offseason.

These two teams have a good mix of stars in the starting lineup and good players off the bench. The Lakers added a pressing issue with Dennis Schroder playing as their sixth man. Harrell and Gasol will also add key depth. I really like the Lakers addition of Ibaka this offseason as he fills the missing role of Harrell from last season.

Field Goal Shooting Last Season

The Clippers were able to shoot well from the field last season. Los Angeles made 46.6 percent of their shots from the field, which was 12th in the NBA. The Clippers also made 37.1 percent of their shots from deep, which finished 6th best in the league. Los Angeles struggled inside the arc, making 52.2 percent of their shots, which was 17th in the league.

The Lakers were dominant inside the paint throughout last season. Los Angeles made 55.2 percent of their shots in close, which was 3rd in the league. The Lakers also made 48 percent of their shots from the field, which was best in the NBA. Los Angeles struggled from deep, shooting 34.9 percent, which was 21st in the NBA.

The Lakers were the better team shooting throughout last season, but the Clippers had the better defense. The Clippers had the third best defense from the field, while they had the second best defense inside the arc. The Lakers biggest struggle was shooting deep, which Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell could help improve this season.

Pick Overview

Both Los Angeles’ teams were the top two teams in the Western Conference last season. Now both teams will look to get an early leg up on each other with a win on Tuesday night. The Lakers will accept their championship rings on Tuesday, which I think will give them some momentum going in. These two teams always battle it out, but I like the Lakers to take the first meeting of this season.

BetOnline has the Lakers listed as a -3 against the spread on Tuesday night. This gives a slight edge to them against their rival. I believe this line is right after the Lakers earned the NBA title a few months ago. The Lakers also had a better offseason in my opinion, which I think will help propel them early in the season. I am taking the Lakers to earn a big win to open up the new NBA season.

Los Angeles Lakers -3
Andruw Burling / Author

Andruw Burling has been writing sports picks since 2017, covering mainly NHL and NBA content, but doing work in other sports as well. Andruw grew up in Las Vegas and has been around sports since a young age. He grew up a huge NHL and NBA fan and continues to use that knowledge in his content today.