Lakers vs Clippers Picks, Prediction Today | Wednesday, Feb. 28

Lakers vs Clippers Picks, Prediction Today | Wednesday, Feb. 28 article feature image

Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass the ball during the game against the LA Clippers on January 23, 2024 at Crypto.Com Arena. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Lakers vs. Clippers Prediction, Picks for Wednesday, Feb. 28

Wednesday, Feb. 28
10 p.m. ET
Clippers -3

Here's everything you need to know about Lakers vs. Clippers on Wednesday, Feb. 28 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

With four wins in their last six games, the Lakers have started their climb up the Western Conference standings and will now take aim at the mighty Clippers, who have begun to struggle in recent weeks as they have hit a proverbial wall.

Can the Lakers clinch the season series in this storied rivalry, or will the Clippers walk away with a second consecutive win over the team they share an arena with?

Let's get to our Lakers vs. Clippers prediction and pick.

Lakers vs. Clippers Prediction

Pick: Clippers -3 (-110)

Lakers Improving Key Weaknesses

First and foremost, we should address the Lakers' injury report. LeBron James is questionable with a left ankle issue that kept him out one game on each side of the All-Star Break. However, he's questionable almost every night and likely used the nagging injury to get some extended rest, so his status is not in too much doubt here.

Christian Wood will miss another game, as will Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent (who has been out with a long-term injury), but otherwise this is one of the healthier points of the Lakers' season.

The Lakers have quickly become an offensive-minded team, ranking third this month in Offensive Rating with 119.8 points scored per 100 possessions. That's a drastic leap from their 19th-ranked 114.5 Offensive Rating for the season, and it's all been thanks to a 39.6% 3-point percentage this month, which ranks fifth in the league.

The Lakers have also shored up their defense of the 3-point line, ranking in the top 10 this month, as they have turned around two huge weaknesses quite drastically.

Still, this is ultimately a Lakers team which gets to the rim a lot and has a ton of success shooting within four feet, so that will still ultimately be the story to watch here. The outside shooting will be the cherry on top for what's been a deadly offense lately, and if the Lakers can continue to defend the 3, they'll be in a winning position here.

Clippers' Offensive Addition by Subtraction

The Clippers have been lacking an unquantifiable "energy" in their last seven games, leading to a rough patch where they have lost four of their last seven games. What started with a sluggish loss on the second night of a back-to-back against the Pelicans has become something of a trend.

While the Clippers have had the tendency to play down to weaker opponents, they've completely no-showed against the likes of the Timberwolves and Thunder in blowout losses during this stretch.

It's clear that this team is missing Paul George. I don't mean literally, though he will miss a second straight game on Wednesday with knee soreness, but I do mean it in a broader sense.

The star wing simply hasn't been giving this team his best basketball ever since suffering a groin injury late in January, and as a result, this high-powered offense — which ranked first in the NBA with George, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden all playing together — has put up a poor 110.3 points per 100 possessions in the last seven games as the defense continues to be a liability.

The Clippers have shot just 34.7% from 3 during this span, which ranks 27th in the NBA and is a far cry from their elite numbers over the course of the season. The personnel isn't much different right now, other than George, and Norman Powell continues to be a force from deep.

Leonard has been shooting the ball with great difficulty, as has George, so in theory taking one cold shooter off the floor should help things given the volume with which he shoots. The On/Off Splits would seem to back that up too, with the Clippers scoring two more points per 100 possessions over the last seven contests with George on the bench.

This team is significantly worse on defense without him, and that's just something it will have to deal with if it wants to get back to scoring at will in the short term.

Lakers vs. Clippers Picks, Odds

Wednesday, Feb. 28
10 p.m. ET
Lakers Odds
Clippers Odds
Odds via DraftKings . Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Taking the ball out George's hands and putting it into Powell's hands is ultimately a winning strategy for this offense at the moment, and the Clippers played with a lot more efficiency on offense in a loss to the Kings. Nonetheless, their defense is still absolutely lost without George — even if he's not at 100% — and that calls into question how this game will go against a surging Lakers offense.

The "energy" the Clippers are lacking is bound to return at some point, and a primetime showcase against the Lakers is a perfect spot for it. With a new look on life offensively, the Clippers should score on the Lakers, and down low their rim defense has actually taken a step forward in February with their entire frontcourt finally healthy.

If the Clippers continue to defend the rim well, I have faith in them here. Their 3-point defense all season long has been excellent, and as good as George is, he can only guard one man on the arc.

The Clippers have been down for too long not to get back to the elite basketball they were just playing a few weeks ago, and with arguably their best offensive weapon at the moment, Powell, getting more time and usage, they should come up with a statement win and cover.

Pick: Clippers -3 (-110)

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Doug Ziefel
May 22, 2024 UTC