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Lakers, Clippers Primed for Another Defensive Affair

Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers

The Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets and a handful of other Western Conference teams might have something to say about it, but there's at least a decent chance that Sunday's all-L.A. encounter between the Lakers and Clippers could be a preview of the conference final. The Lakers come in with a 5 1/2-game lead over the Clippers for top spot in the West.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers

Opening Odds Analysis

The Clippers head into the latest chapter of the Battle of Los Angeles as -2 favorites; the line hasn't moved much, nor has the total, which kicked off at 225.5.

Los Angeles Lakers News & Notes

The Lakers might not have enough time left to catch Milwaukee for top spot in the league standings, but it made a statement that it isn't afraid of the Bucks with Friday's 113-103 home triumph. It was the 19th victory of the season for L.A. against a team above .500, tied with the Clippers for the most in the league; Sunday afternoon, one of the teams will claim win No. 20.

And with the Lakers playing so well (they come in with a three-game winning streak), there's no rush to have Dion Waiters in the lineup. The veteran shooting guard, who was signed from the veteran's minimum after being waived by the Memphis Grizzlies, attended his first practice Saturday but isn't expected to see action for at least the next week or so.

Los Angeles Clippers News & Notes

The Clippers are a distant second in the standings at the moment, but they clearly have the momentum heading into the third meeting of the season between the teams. Not only have the Kawhi Leonard-led Clips fashioned a six-game winning streak, they've also won each of the previous two meetings this season, most recently a 111-106 victory on Christmas Day.

And all of this success has come despite No. 2 scorer Paul George struggling mightily. George is averaging a pedestrian 14.7 points over his previous nine games (though he played just 26.1 minutes per contest over that span), lowering his scoring mark for the season to 20.9 ppg; if it stands, it'll mark his lowest scoring average since 2012-13.

Betting Pick: UNDER

The first two games both came in under 220 – and with both sides playing sensational defensive basketball at the moment, we like the UNDER a lot here.

Shark Bites
  • LA Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
  • LA Clippers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games.
  • The UNDER is 14-6 in LA Clippers' last 20 games against LA Lakers.