The Los Angeles Lakers are a better team when compared to the Los Angeles Clippers. Sure, they are both two of the top teams in the NBA, but we do believe that the Lakers will defeat the Clippers in any playoff series they play soon, whether it’s this season or next.
Indeed dedicated fans are checking the odds on trusted websites to see who oddsmakers believe will be the eventual NBA Western Conference Champion. But we are going to outline several reasons why we think the Lakers are the better team based on analysis of how things stand at the moment.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 Season Overview
The Lakers are 49-14 and currently the top seed in the Western Conference with a 5.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers. They’re even better on the road (26-6) than they are at home (23-8). They have also won eight of their last ten games.
If the season ended today, LeBron James would arguably be the front-runner for the NBA’s MVP Award. He has played very well in the last several games against top-tier talent. James is averaging 25.7 points a game, 7.9 rebounds, and a career-high 10.6 assists.
However, past all the numbers and statistics, the most important thing he did was successfully recruited Anthony Davis to the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans during the offseason.
Davis is a superstar in his own right. He’s currently the Laker’s top scoring threat, averaging 26.7 points per game. His 9.4 rebounds per game also lead the team, and along with James, he was selected to the All-Star game this year.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ 2020 Season Overview
The Clippers are currently 44-20 and are the second seed in the Western Conference at the time of this article’s publication. They are playing much better at home (25-7) than on the road (19-13), and they have won seven of their last ten games.
Reigning MVP Kawhi Leonard leads the Clippers. This season Leonard is averaging 26.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. A perennial All-Star, Leonard won the first-ever Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP award last month and is coming offa season where he led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Championship and was named the NBA Finals MVP.
The Clippers also have an excellent player on their team in Paul George, who they traded for during the offseason. This year George is averaging 21 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game for the Clippers. He’s a six-time NBA All-Star and a phenomenal defensive player.
Lakers vs. Clippers Head-to-Head Record for the 2020 Season
So far, the Clippers and Lakers have played each other three times this season. The Clippers won the first two meetings, including opening night on October 22nd in Los Angeles. That evening Leonard scored 30 points and paced his team to a convincing 112-102 victory.
Game two on Christmas day saw thew Clippers dominated the second half in a 111-106 win that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated. Leonard was even better in that win, scoring 35 points to lead all scorers and snagging a game-high 12 rebounds.
The third meeting between these two Staples Center rivals was initially scheduled for January 28th but moved to April 9th after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others.
That means what would have been the 4th meeting on March 8th became the 3rd game. At the time, the Lakers were in the middle of what is possibly their hardest stretch of the schedule and were coming off an incredibly impressive win over the Milwaukee Bucks two nights before.
In what was considered a road game for the Lakers, James scored 28 points, added seven rebounds, and a game-high nine assists in what was probably the biggest win for the Lakers all season. Anthony Davis scored 30 points in a game that saw George drop 31 and Leonard score 27, and capped a weekend where the Lakers beat their two biggest championship threats in a three-day span.
Winning late in the season was a huge momentum boost down the stretch, likely clinched the conference top seed, and would have allowed the Lakers to rest either Davis or James for the playoffs.
It’s not a given that either of these teams reaches the conference finals. However, in reviewing the current standings and seedings, they both would be highly favored to win their first two series.
The Lakers would be heavy favorites as the #1 seed vs. the #8 seed Memphis Grizzlies. They then would have to defeat either Oklahoma City or the Utah Jazz, two teams which they match up well against. Barring an injury to a key player, we can’t see the Lakers not winning the first two series.
Meanwhile, the Clippers would draw a competent young Dallas Mavericks team in the first round and then get by an excellent Denver Nuggets team Houston Rockets team to get to the Western Conference Finals. They are capable of that, but it won’t be easy and will probably take more games than they would prefer to play leading up to the conference finals.
The Clippers certainly have a tougher road and will likely be a little more worn down if they get to the Western Conference Finals than the Lakers would be. In the war that’s the playoffs, that’s often the difference between winning and losing.
Head To Head In The Playoffs
In their most recent loss to the Lakers, the Clippers had real issues moving the ball against a Lakers defense that seems to rise to the occasion. The Clippers had 15 turnovers, only managed 12 assists, and shot a dismal 38.8% from the field against an engaged Lakers defense of swarming arms and moving feet.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers cited ball movement as the reason they lost the game against the Lakers, saying, “I didn’t think we had a lot of ball movement today offensively. I thought our offense let us down more than our defense.”
More importantly, James and Davis handily outdueled Leonard and George in what was the biggest and most important game for both teams to date this season.
A winning culture is something with which Lakers fans are very familiar. The historically successful franchise expects to win, and when you have superstar players, you tend to win. And there is no bigger star in the league than Lebron James.
James has been to nine NBA Finals throughout his career, winning three of them. While the Clippers do have reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, nobody has seen more success than James in conference finals where he’s 9-2 over his career. He’s the current basketball X factor and has been for over a decade.