Lakers Vs. Clippers Preview: Looking For First Win Of Season In Home Opener Against L.A. Rivals
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers go against the L.A. Clippers in the first home game of the 2022-23 season, hoping to bounce back from their Opening Night loss.

The Lakers lost 123-109 against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday after an awful shooting night. L.A. shot 42.6% from the field and 25% from downtown, making just 10 of their 40 3-point attempts.

Head coach Darvin Ham will have the same players at his disposal he did in the matchup with Golden State except for rookie Cole Swider who is dealing with a foot injury. Meanwhile, everyone on the Clippers roster is available to face the Lakers, but Kawhi Leonard is coming off the bench after missing the entire 2021-22 campaign with an ACL injury.

The Clippers are touted as the main title favorites this year, and for a good reason. A few NBA teams boast as much roster depth as Ty Lue’s men do, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

The loss against the Warriors showed the Purple and Gold can create scoring chances for themselves — they just waste too many of them. The execution needs to get better against the stellar Clippers defense if the Lakers want to get in the win column.

But it’s on Ham as much as on LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to achieve that. The rotation will need to improve on Thursday after Lakers head coach made some questionable lineup decisions in the clash with the Warriors.

Kendrick Nunn and Austin Reaves should spend more than 23 minutes on the court, providing L.A. with some more playmaking and shooting. And Damian Jones, not Wenyen Gabriel, should be Davis’ backup whenever the Clippers add size to the lineup after Gabriel spent big swaths of the Tuesday matchup struggling against James Wiseman, a 7-footer.

The Clippers are reintroducing Leonard and Paul George into the team, offering the Lakers a chance to capitalize on possible rustiness and chemistry issues of their rivals. But no Clippers weakness will play a factor if L.A. doesn’t improve their game first.

L.A. Clippers (0-0) @ Los Angeles Lakers (0-1)

7 p.m. PT, October 20, 2022 Arena
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Lonnie Walker IV
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Wenyen Gabriel

Projected Clippers Starting Lineup:

PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Norman Powell
SF: Paul George
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Ivica Zubac

Key Reserves: Kawhi Leonard, Robert Covington, Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, John Wall

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