The Los Angeles Lakers look to begin their title defense on a high note as they take on the L.A. Clippers on Opening Night of the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Lakers and Clippers are one of two matchups taking place Tuesday, with the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors going head to head in the first half of the doubleheader. After a successful 4-0 preseason, the Lakers appear focused and ready to go for what will be a unique NBA season.
While no fans will be in attendance due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Lakers will hope to maintain a semblance of home-court advantage like they did in the first two preseason games.
They swept the Clippers in the two preseason meetings despite multiple starters sitting each game out. The Lakers now also get a chance to see their full roster in action for the first time, which is notably for newcomers Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol.
With these additions, the Lakers have become one of the deepest teams in the NBA, potentially having an opportunity to play 11-12 players on any given night.
While the Lakers are certainly excited about debuting some of their new additions, the Clippers are ready to create a new identity after a shocking end to their 2019-20 season. After blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets, the Clippers fired head coach Doc Rivers, replacing him with Tyronn Lue.
Meanwhile, they replaced Harrell, JaMychal Green and Landry Shamet with Serge Ibaka, Nicolas Batum, and Luke Kennard.
While plenty of jokes were made at the Clippers expense, there’s no doubt the two L.A. teams remain atop the Western Conference in terms of talent. The pairing of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will continue to be one of the league’s best.
Prior to tipoff the Lakers will celebrate their 2020 championship with a ring ceremony. TNT will begin airing the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. PT.
Lakers (0-0) vs. Clippers (0-0)
7:00 p.m. PT, Dec. 22, 2020
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schroder
SF: Wesley Matthews
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris, Talen Horton-Tucker
Projected Clippers Starting Lineup:
PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Paul George
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Serge Ibaka
Key Reserves: Luke Kennard, Lou Williams, Nic Batum, Patrick Patterson, Terrence Mann
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