More than a quarter way through the 2019-20 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers on Christmas Day for the first time since Opening Night.
As the 24-6 Lakers have the best record in the Western Conference, the Clippers are currently three games back.
Although James did not play against the Nuggets and Davis suffered an injury in that game, they reportedly are expected to play against the Clippers on Christmas Day, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
LeBron James, who missed a game for the first time all season Sunday with a thoracic muscle strain and discomfort in his groin, and Anthony Davis, who tweaked his right knee in that loss to Denver that James missed, are expected to play on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN.
Although there was uncertainty about Davis, a source close to James expected him to be in the starting lineup despite being listed as questionable, according to McMenamin:
James missed his first game of the season Sunday while dealing with a thoracic muscle strain — a pull in the rib cage area — as well as a nagging groin issue, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. He is listed as day-to-day by the Lakers with the Christmas game on the horizon. However, a source close to James told ESPN he expected the star to be in the lineup.
If both James and Davis do play, it will mark just the second time the Lakers have had a fully healthy roster. On Opening Night, Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo did not play as George was still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
While it will be a measuring stick game for both teams, the reality is they have a long way to go before the 2020 NBA Finals. With the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline and March buyout deadline, they may look different come April.
As all of the attention will naturally be on the Battle of Los Angeles, the Lakers are focused on the present and that means ending their current three-game losing streak.