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This isn't where the Lakers or Clippers expected to be this season, but it only makes this game more important. Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks against the spread for Thursday's NBA late game on TNT.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: Who Wins the Battle for LA?

Clippers vs. Lakers Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

When: Thursday, February 3 - 10:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: TNT

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction

Both the Lakers and Clippers entered this season with title aspirations, albeit with different anticipated paths. The Lakers figured to romp through the regular season with Russ picking up some of the slack for LeBron and AD, while the Clippers were always going to be in something closer to survival mode with Kawhi Leonard out for at least most of the season.

Neither team's path has gone as expected. The Westbrook experiment has been a dud for the Lakers, and injuries to their top two guys have left them two games below .500 and in 9th place in the West. One spot and a half-game ahead of them are the Clippers, who have had to weather the loss of Paul George as well as Leonard.

This game is about as big as an early February game can be. These teams faced off once already, with the Clippers beating their crosstown counterparts by four in what was a home game for the Lakers. Both LeBron James and Paul George played in that game, but barring a last minute surprise from the four-time MVP, James will miss his fifth straight game tonight.

If the Clippers win, it not only means they'll jump a game and a half ahead of the Lakers in the standings, but that they can't lose the head to head tiebreaker and will win it with just one more win in the teams' last two contests. If the Lakers win, they'll jump the Clippers in the standings and bring the potential tiebreaker back to even.

On paper, the Clippers should be favored. When James isn't playing, the Lakers are just 6-10, and only two of those wins - consecutive three-point victories against Charlotte and Miami back in early November - have come against teams with winning records. The Lakers also haven't won consecutive games in nearly a month, and they're coming off a victory last night in Portland. Lastly, this is the second game of a back to back.

But the Lakers are 4-2 against the spread on the second night of a back to back this season, and we know Russ has no slow speed. This figures to come down to the wire, and while the Clippers may wind up on top, these teams feel too closely matched for this to be more than a one-possession spread. Take the points on the road.

Clippers vs. Lakers Pick

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Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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