It’s a big Sunday as we near the final week of the NBA with several pivotal playoff-seeding and playoff-berth-earning games on the schedule. The battle of Los Angeles takes center stage on ABC at 3:30 PM with a lot more than pride on the line. The Clippers, who have locked up their first division title in EVER look to complete the four-game series sweep of the Lakers. Meanwhile Kobe and Co. need to win every game to keep their slim half-game lead over the Utah Jazz for the final playoff berth. Expect a physical and chippy game today in Staples.
Meanwhile Utah faces a tough test in Golden State. Both the Lakers and Jazz are favored to lose, but if one can win while the other loses, especially if it is the Lakers, then they can open up a slight window of breathing room.
So, will either win today? Let’s dig inside the numbers and take a look…
Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers -4.5 (Total: 200.5)
The Lakers are on the “road” today, but this is one of the more laughable road trips of the season, as they all travelling all the way down the hall. The Lakers, as noted above, have struggled mightily this season against the Clippers, losing all three games by a combined 39 points. They should be focused today, as they are battling for seeding nearly as importantly as the Lakers are battling for a spot in the tourney.
However, I may be a sucker, but I like Kobe on national television in a game the Lakers HAVE to win. They have played quality ball of late, winning three in a row and four of their last five, including a huge win over Dallas and a cut check win against Memphis. Meanwhile, the Clippers have struggled losing three of four of their last six with their only wins being a blowout over lowly Phoenix and an overtime game against Dallas they were very fortunate to win.
I’ll take the momentum and desperation of the Lakers today keeping them in the contest. I am not sure they get the win, but I think they could. That makes the four and a half points pretty attractive.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Lakers +4.5
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors -5.5
The Jazz, despite being right in the playoff mix, are one of the worst road teams in all the NBA at just 11-27 away from Salt Lake. The Warriors are tough at home as one would expect, posting a 26-11 record this season. This game feels like a no-brainer, though the importance and desperation certainly factor into Utah’s favor.
I like Golden State to win tonight and to cover the spread. They’ve handled their business at home all season long, especially against teams they should beat.
Free Pick: Golden State Warriors -5.5