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LA Clippers VS LA Lakers Best Bet – Friday 25th February 2011

Thu, Feb 24, 5:05pm by Kevin Pitstock

The battle of Los Angeles and bragging rights to the best team in the Staples Center continues as the Lakers meet the Clippers for the third time this season. The Lakers (39-19) won by a point back in December before the Clippers got revenge 99-92 in January. The Clippers (21-36) may not be the better team right now but they certainly are the younger and more exciting of the two. Kobe Bryant fully declared that he is still the star of Los Angeles with his All- Star Game MVP performance but the Clippers Blake Griffin is the Golden Child of LA for the future.

The Lakers were in a funk before the All-Star break but broke out with a big home win over Atlanta. The 105-94 triumph snapped a three game home losing streak; a rarity for the purple and gold. Bryant proved that on the big stage he still at his best. But remember, All Stars play matador defense and Kobe will face real, hard-nosed players who want to get in his face all night long. Still, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t hit his averages of 25.1 points and 5.3 assists per game. Forward Paul Gasol holds the key to LA’s season as when he is aggressive the Lakers are one of the best. He accounts for 18.7 points and 10.4 boards per game but has a habit of disappearing in games. Andrew Bynum is their oft-injured option at center and has been averaging only 11.2 points a game. Forward Lamar Odom who has started much of the season in place of Bynum, now comes off the bench and is very effective. He scores 14.8 per game adding 2.8 assists and 9.1 rebounds. The other Lakers starters are Derek Fisher (6.7 points) at the point and defensive specialist Ron Artest. The Lakers bench, outside of Odom, is inconsistent at best.

Clipper mania has been spurred by Blake Griffin’s highlight dunks this year. He is a regular on SportsCenter just like LeBron but he won’t be dunking over any cars on Friday night. Griffin is averaging 22.9 points a game shooting at 51.2 percent from the floor. He leads the team in rebounds at 12.5 per game and adds a surprising 3.6 assists each night. Leading the Clippers in scoring is shooting guard Eric Gordon with 24.1 points a game while veteran point guard Baron Davis drops in 12.8 points and dishes seven assists per contest. Center DeAndre Jordan has started 48 games but chips I less than ten points while small forward has been another unproductive position manned mostly by Ryan Gomes and his 8.5 points a game. The Clippers as a team are 17th in scoring but 19th in defense.

No doubt that Los Angeles will win this game; the question is will be Lakers or Clippers. The Clippers are out of playoff contention but have made habit over the years of spoiling Laker seasons. Can Phil Jackson can work magic in the locker room and get his team to focus? Don’t expect it. Watch for a big Clippers upset on Friday night at the Staples Center.

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