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Lakers, Clipper clash

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Sportsbook.ag NBA Game of Day
 
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (40-36) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (50-26)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Clippers -5 & 202.5
 
The Clippers look for a division-clinching victory on Sunday afternoon when they attempt to finish a season sweep of the rival Lakers.
 
The Lakers are desperately trying to hold onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, entering play on Sunday with just a half-game lead over 9th-place Utah. The Lakers have gotten to this position with three straight victories (2-0-1 ATS), despite having their leading assist man, PG Steve Nash, play just two minutes during the win streak due to a hamstring injury. Nash is listed as doubtful for Sunday. The Clippers had lost three in a row before crushing Phoenix 126-101 in their most recent game on Wednesday. Over the past four seasons, this series is tied 7-7 SU, but the Clippers hold the 10-4 ATS advantage. They have also won and covered all three matchups this season, including a 125-101 blowout in the most recent meeting on Valentine's Day.
 
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The Lakers have a potent offense that scores 102.1 PPG (6th in NBA) on 45.8% FG (10th in league) and 35.6% threes (16th in NBA). They had scored 100+ points in six straight games before Friday's 86-84 win over Memphis, which allows the fewest points in the league at 89.8 PPG. Defensively, this team is far from polished, allowing 101.0 PPG (7th-worst in NBA) on 45.4% FG (15th in league) and 35.8% threes (also 15th in NBA). Although the Lakers commit the 5th-most turnovers in the league (14.8 TOPG), they are a strong rebounding team with a +2.0 RPG margin (8th in league) and 44.8 total RPG (2nd in NBA). SG Kobe Bryant (27.0 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.5 RPG) has shot poorly in his past four games (38% FG, 0-for-15 threes), but has contributed in other ways during his team's three-game win streak with 11.3 APG, 8.3 RPG and 2.3 SPG. He's been on fire against his L.A. rival this season with 32.7 PPG on 59% FG with 5.0 APG and 2.3 SPG in the three losses to the Clippers. C Dwight Howard (16.6 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 2.4 BPG) has also played big in the season series with 17.3 PPG (61% FG) and 10.3 RPG. He was one point shy of extending his double-double streak to 15 games on Friday, as he's averaged a whopping 19.0 PPG, 14.6 PPG and 2.9 BPG over this 15-game stretch. PF Pau Gasol (13.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.6 APG) has scored at least a dozen points in five straight contests, and has contributed in many facets during the win streak with 15.0 PPG (53% FG), 7.0 RPG and 6.3 APG. He's done very little offensively in this season series though, posting a mere 6.0 PPG on 40% FG in two games. PG Steve Blake (6.2 PPG, 3.7 APG) has done a nice job scoring in the absence of Nash with 10.7 PPG on 10-of-20 threes, but has just six assists and 10 turnovers in these three games. For the season series, he's shooting 56% from the floor, leading to 7.5 PPG and 4.5 APG in two meetings against them. Both forwards Antawn Jamison (9.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and Earl Clark (7.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG) finished with nearly identical stat lines on Friday with 13 points, five rebounds (2 offensive), one steal, two turnovers and a +12 rating.
 
The Clippers have a quality offense that has scored 101.0 PPG this season (8th in NBA) on 47.7% FG (5th in league), but a mediocre 35.6% threes (17th in NBA). In the season series between the two L.A. teams, the Clippers are averaging a robust 112.3 PPG on 49% FG and 46% threes. They always work hard on the defensive end, surrendering just 94.8 PPG (4th in NBA) on 44.5% FG (10th in league), but do a horrible job of defending long-range shooters, as they give up 37.7% threes (4th-worst in NBA). They help themselves out defensively with a league-leading 9.7 steals per game, +2.2 RPG margin (6th in NBA), and 5.6 blocks per contest (7th in league). PG Chris Paul (16.9 PPG) ranks second in the NBA in both assists (9.6 APG) and steals (2.42 SPG), and has been playing exceptionally well in his past nine games with 18.4 PPG (46% FG), 9.8 APG and 2.9 SPG. This includes 15 points, 12 assists and four steals in Wednesday's win. He has also been too much for the Lakers to handle this season with 24.0 PPG (48% FG), 13.7 APG, 4.3 RPG and 2.3 SPG in the three victories. PF Blake Griffin (18.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG) has also played very well in the L.A. series with 20.3 PPG (57% FG) and 7.7 RPG. But he hasn't been great down the stretch, scoring just 13.4 PPG (42% FG) and 6.3 RPG over his past eight games. SG Jamal Crawford (16.7 PPG) has been able to consistently put up points though, with 17.3 PPG on 47% shooting over the past four games. He's also scoring 14.5 PPG in two meetings with the Lakers despite making 35% of his shots. SF Matt Barnes (10.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG) and C DeAndre Jordan (8.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG) have both been dealing with injuries to their ankle and hip, respectively, but it hasn't slowed them down. Barnes is 6-for-8 FG (3-for-5 threes) over two April games, and Jordan is coming off a dominant 20-point, 12-rebound performance against Phoenix.

  
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David: 2013 Bad Beats
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