In one of the most highly anticipated games of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite the Lakers (first) and Clippers (fourth) being near the top of the Western Conference standings, both teams are bringing recent struggles into this game. Both teams have lost three out of their last five games with some less than perfect circumstances.
The Clippers road woes continued against the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder as well as a close home loss to the Houston Rockets. The Lakers road winning streak came crashing to an end with back-to-back losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers followed by a third straight loss to the Denver Nuggets with LeBron James on the sideline.
However, despite the recent struggles and injuries, both teams will be fully healthy and ready to go for this meeting. James and Anthony Davis, while both listed as questionable at some point, will both play. Kyle Kuzma — listed as probable — will also be taking the court.
This means that for just the second time this season (Nov. 12 vs. the Phoenix Suns), the Lakers will have all of their players available to play with no injuries. The Clippers will also be fully healthy as they have zero injuries reported.
Even though Dwight Howard says otherwise, this game will likely be used a measuring stick test to see where both the Lakers and Clippers are at over a third of the way through this long season. While it’s more than likely that overreactions will be made regardless, there will be some important takeaways that could come from this game.
For the Lakers, especially with James and Davis coming off injuries, the question will be how reliant they are on their two All-Star players in a big game. The follow up to this would be to figure out what moves they can and need to make to alleviate the issue should it exist.
For the Clippers, it will be figuring out how this team looks when everyone is healthy and how they plan on keeping everyone involved and not devolving to a Kawhi Leonard and Paul George isolation offense.
This is likely to be one of the most fun games of the season so far for both teams. However, it’s important to remember that no matter the outcome, these two teams will still be firmly in the conversation when April and May come around.
Los Angeles Lakers (24-6) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (22-10)
5:00 P.M. PT, Dec. 25, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: ESPN, ABC
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Avery Bradley
SG: Danny Green
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo
Projected Clippers Starting Lineup:
PG: Patrick Beverly
SG: Paul George
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Moe Harkless
C: Ivica Zubac
Key Reserves: Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, Patrick Patterson, Rodney McGruder