Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: NBA

Game Preview: Lakers vs Clippers

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Los Angeles Lakers (49-14) | Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)

 

After going 2-1 in the scrimmage games, the Los Angeles Lakers are now ready to take on their hallway rival Los Angles Clippers, to kick off the resumption of the NBA season.

 

Thursday’s game will mark the first of eight regular-season seeding games the Lakers will have to play before entering the postseason, the first playoff appearance for the franchise since 2013. Before the resumption of the regular season, the Lake Show lost to the Dallas Mavericks 108-104, beat the Orlando Magic 119-112, and beat the Washington Wizards 123-116, respectively, in their three scrimmages.

 

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

They looked a bit sluggish in their first appearance against Dallas, but it did not take long for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to return to full speed form. JaVale McGee also looked impressive as he was dominant on both sides of the floor. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a slight injury scare when he turned his ankle, but he later returned to the game.

Alex Caruso sat out the first game due to back stiffness. He returned in the second game against Orlando but quickly fouled out in only 12 minutes. Caruso then showed why he is an x-factor coming off the bench for the squad in the last game against Washington, scoring 17 on 4-6 (66.7%) shooting.

Kyle Kuzma struggled to find his shot against the Mavs but bounced back after celebrating his birthday in the game against the Magic, scoring 25 points and grabbing seven rebounds. The additions of Dion Waiters and JR Smith proved to be useful as they both seemed to find their stroke inside the bubble. Waiters looked as good as ever knocking down 48% of his shots, which is impressive considering he has not played since Jan. 28. It was a bit of a struggle for Smith as he was a bit inconsistent until he finished the last scrimmage with 20 points on 6-9 (66.7%) shooting.

The biggest concern for the Lakers heading into the seeding games is the health of Davis, who was poked in the eye in the first quarter of the Orlando scrimmage. He did not participate in the Washington scrimmage or at practice on Tuesday. At the time of this writing, it is still undetermined whether or not Davis will play in Thursday’s game against the Clippers.

 

On the other side of things, the Clippers have their own issues as well. They will be without Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell; while it is unclear if they will have Patrick Beverley, Ivica Zubac, and Landry Shamet.

 

By now, everyone knows about the Williams situation; he left the bubble with an excused absence but was then caught socializing in an Atlanta strip club, causing him to be quarantined for ten days before returning to team activities. Harrell also left the bubble with an excused absence but has yet to return to the Walt Disney World campus. After leaving Orlando due to a family emergency, Beverley returned on Sunday, and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he was a “maybe” for the game against the Lakers.

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: Heavy.com

Zubac and Shamet both arrived in Orlando on Saturday and cleared quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier in Los Angeles. Although it is yet to be confirmed, they are both expected to be active for Thursday’s game.

Despite who is and isn’t playing, this is not a technically important game for either team since they are both safe and in position for the playoffs. As the two top teams in their conference, this is likely the preview of the Western Conference Finals, according to most NBA experts, as both squads are heavily favored to win the championship this year.

 

You can watch the Lakers play against the Clippers toniight, (Thursday July 30th) at 6 pm on TNT.

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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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