Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers
March 6, 2014
7:30 p.m. PST
1. Over/under 0.5 naps for Chris Kaman over the course of the game.
Darius Soriano, Forum Blue and Gold, (@forumbluegold): I am reluctantly taking the under here. Though I’ve no clue about his ability to fool us by napping with his eyes open (Kaman seems like a guy who could have this skill, right?). Since the Lakers have gotten some healthy bodies back, there is simply not enough room for him to sprawl out on the bench and get comfortable enough to catch some z’s. If there were more room, though, I’d definitely take the over since the odds are he won’t see any game time and might as well count some sheep since his number will not be called to go in.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): Under. Not after how angry Kobe was after Kaman pulled that sideline stunt. Perhaps Blake Griffin dunks on his head and sends him into a coma – I won’t rule it out – but other than that, Kaman will stay awake (that doesn’t mean he won’t have myriad defensive lapses).
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): Earlier in the week, Kaman was listed as day-to-day, which momentarily gave us the possibility of Kaman in street clothes (AKA nap central). But now it looks like he’s more likely to suit up than dress in a suit (or whatever Kaman’s approximation of a suit is these days), which drastically reduces the chances of nap time. I’ll take the under, but doing so fills me with the sadness of 1,000 viking funerals.
2. True or false: The Clippers will end the year with a top-three seed in the West.
Soriano: False, though I say that with little conviction. I think the No. 3 seed is a virtual toss-up between the Clippers and the Rockets and I only give Houston a slight edge because it really seemed to have found its stride over the last month. The Rockets finally seem to be playing the type of defense they are capable of with Dwight and Asik anchoring their first and second units, respectively. All that said, I don’t expect the Clippers to go away and could easily see this being decided in the last week of the year.
Buha: True. I examined the remaining schedules of the Clippers, Rockets and Blazers, and the Clippers have the easiest one – in terms of difficult road games, back-to-backs, playoff opponents, etc. – by a decent margin. I expect the Clippers to surpass both teams within the next couple weeks.
James: I want so say true so badly, but I just don’t see the Clippers getting above the No. 4 seed. Yes, both Portland and Houston are embarking on brutal schedules with slews of games against the best teams in the league. But until one of these Clippers free agents turns back time, I don’t see the team being able to withstand their lineup inconsistencies and win at the rate of the West’s best. Worth noting: A win Thursday would give the Clippers their longest streak of the season (six).
3. What do the Lakers need to do to pull off an upset at Staples?
Soriano: Let me say up front that I do not see the Lakers winning. The Clippers are clearly superior and over the course of the game, their talent should win out. However, if the Lakers do somehow pull out a win, it will almost certainly be because of the Clippers not respecting them and coming out flat. If they combine that with getting hot from behind the arc and creating a fast tempo that the Clips aren’t ready for, that’s the best shot. Or, you know, pretty much the same formula they used to pull off the upset on opening night.
Buha: Besides get new players? I guess they could shoot the lights out. When the Lakers are hitting their 3s, they can be a scary, unpredictable team. Still, I don’t see them having any defensive answer for the new Blake Griffin. I predict a 15-to-20-point Clippers win.
James: Play like they did on opening night. Frustrate Blake Griffin into foul trouble, ennui, or an ejection. Grab offensive rebounds like there’s no tomorrow. Look, I don’t see the Lakers winning Thursday night, but anything can happen in this league. They just hung one on Portland, right?