The Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to get their first win since the All-Star break and get a little revenge on their rivals as they take on the Los Angeles Clippers in what’s technically a road game. The two teams met just six days ago in both team’s first contest following All-Star Weekend with the Clippers coming away with a three-point victory.
The two sides have gone in opposite directions since with the Clippers adding another pair of victories to increase their win streak to four while the Lakers have now lost three straight and six of their last seven. The Clippers are now three games ahead of the Lakers in the loss column for the eighth seed, which is the difference in needing to win one or two games in the Play-In Tournament.
Last week’s contest followed the same format as almost every recent Lakers game with the team falling behind early, making a big run to get close before coming up just short in the end. Getting off to a good start will be imperative as the Lakers can not continue to expend so much energy trying to get back in games.
LeBron James is averaging 26.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in three games since the All-Star Break, but the Lakers must get some kind of consistency from the rest of the roster if they are to turn things around as James still believes will happen.
Carmelo Anthony has been very solid since returning from injury, hitting double-figures in each of the last three contests, but the Lakers could really use a return to form from Malik Monk, who is averaging just eight points in the last three games.
The Lakers will also have their two newest signings, point guard D.J. Augustin and forward Wenyen Gabriel available for the first time. Head coach Frank Vogel said that Augustin will definitely get minutes, while Gabriel will depend on how the game goes.
The Clippers continue to be a formidable team without their star duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard thanks to excellent all-around team play. While there isn’t one star, the Clippers have a plethora of players capable of generating offense led by Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr. But Terrence Mann, Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey all gave the Lakers fits last week.
Expect Dwight Howard to again play a big role as well with the Clippers employing former Laker Ivica Zubac in the middle. Howard dominated the matchup last week with 14 points and 16 rebounds and the Clippers as a team are not great on the glass or in the paint, so the Lakers controlling those aspects, and of course taking care of the ball, would go a long way in snapping this losing streak and salvaging one victory in this season series.
Lakers (27-34) vs. Clippers (33-31)
7:30 p.m. PT, March 3, 2022
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Malik Monk
Sf: Austin Reaves
PF: LeBron James
C: Dwight Howard
Key Reserves: Stanley Johnson, Talen Horton-Tucker, Carmelo Anthony, D.J. Augustin, Trevor Ariza
Projected Clippers Starting Lineup:
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Terance Mann
SF: Nicolas Batum
PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
C: Ivica Zubac
Key Reserves: Luke Kennard, Isaiah Hartenstein, Amir Coffey, Robert Covington
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