Merry Christmas, basketball fans. What a treat this year as the battle of Staples Center is set to commence on Wednesday, with the arena decked-out Lakers style this time around. And what a great holiday treat it is for the Clippers, as their four best players will all suit up for this one, with Kawhi Leonard and his load management not keeping him off the floor. That will certainly make things easier for Paul George and Lou Williams, having an automatic shot-maker on the floor with them.
The Lakers will have both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both guys currently dealing with injuries. And for James’ sake, they may not want to ride him too hard. It was a year ago on Christmas that he suffered a hamstring injury, which would slowly but surely derail their season and give him his first “significant” NBA injury.
The Lakers will go as the two of them do, and riding a three-game skid, they will be hoping to get back into the win column. After winning 24 of 27 to open the year, the Lakers have hit their cold streak.
The “home” Lakers are favored by two points, with the over/under set at 223 points.
Gunning For The Top
A win in this game sure would be nice for the Clippers. It would give them some positivity ahead of their holiday feast, and also provide bragging rights over the Lakers. As good as they have been in comparison to the Lakers over the past eight years, it is still a Lakers town. And that will not change overnight, and perhaps if at all, not until a playoff series victory over them.
The Clippers have really improved the roster over the past few years, the trading of Chris Paul to get Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, and Williams, plus acquiring Leonard and George. Ivica Zubac at the deadline last year for scraps was the icing on the cake.
Los Angeles will be relying heavily on its two wing stars to play big in this one, but it will be Zubac, Harrell and JaMychal Green that have the toughest task of trying to slow down Davis. He will likely be playing a lot of center in this one.
Trying To Get Back On Track
This three-game losing skid has certainly been unexpected, and the Lakers are looking to get it back on track. Kyle Kuzma is expected to return, while the two stars will both be out there. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has continued to hold down the fort as starting shooting guard, hitting 46 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three, and really proving to be effective. We’ll see how their stars can perform on the big stage against a solid defensive team in this one.
It will be on James and Davis to get the team fired up, Davis with his effort on both ends, and James with his offensive prowess. If either guy leaves early with an injury, the Lakers will be in trouble.
Clippers Get The W
There isn’t a reason for worry (yet), but the Clippers will hand the Lakers their fourth loss in a row in this one. Take the LA Clippers to win.
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