It’s not the tightest race, but the one people are paying the most attention to is the Pacific Division where the Los Angeles Lakers (41-12) lead the Los Angeles Clippers (37-18) by five games heading into the All-Star break. The rest of the Pacific Division is terrible, but a team like the Phoenix Suns could get hot shooting and cause an upset of two and if the Golden State Warriors get their big guns back at some point they could be an annoying team come the end of the season.
Odds to win Pacific Division – odds via Draftkings Sportsbook
- Los Angeles Lakers -286
- Los Angeles Clippers +150
- Golden State Warriors +50000
- Phoenix Suns +50000
- Sacramento Kings +50000
The Los Angeles Lakers are the best team in the Western Conference, and second best overall team in the league, and that is in large part due to their great home road splits. The Lakers are 18-7 at Staples Center and a NBA best 23-5 on the road so far this season. Los Angeles enters the All-Star Break with a Western Conference best +7.4 points differential.
The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the best home teams this season, sitting at 22-5, but have had some surprising road troubles this year as they enter the All-Star Break with a 15-13 road record. The Clippers are tied for the second best point differential in the West at +5.9 points.
These two teams have essentially the same strength of schedule the last part of the season as the Lakers have the ninth easiest remaining schedule at .487 and the Clippers have the eighth easiest schedule at .477.
The Lakers toughest games remaining include one game against each of Milwaukee, Boston, Toronto, Denver, Utah and the Clippers, but do have two games against Golden State and Minnesota and one game against Cleveland and Charlotte, so they should be able to have a comfortable second half of the season.
The Clippers toughest games are two against Denver and one game each against the Lakers, Celtics, Jazz and Rockets. Los Angeles will be able to rest some of their players in games against Golden State (twice), Minnesota, New York, Charlotte and Detroit.
I think the Lakers are here to prove a point, and are taking the regular season more seriously than the Clippers, so I am backing the Lakers at -280 to win the Pacific division.