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Clippers-Lakers Game Preview: Blake could play. But even without him, we’re still somehow better than the Lakers

For the first time in weeks, Blake is listed as questionable. What isn’t questionable is that Jayson Tatum looks so much better than Lonzo.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Picture: If it all goes to hell in the next few weeks and DJ and LouWill end up sharing the same iron lung or something, you can blame me for jinxing it. But for the first time in a long time—a very long time—the Clippers (14-19, 9th place in Western Conference) may be enjoying a brief run of positive health news. Sure, Danilo is still butt-hurt. But Milos is back. Lou Will and Austin are fully recovered. Wes Johnson is due back soon.

And Blake Griffin is listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Lakers. QUESTIONABLE!!!!

The mighty Evans-Wilson-Williams triumvirate has helped the Clippers to a very respectful 6-8 record while Blake recovered from his sprained MCL. That’s actually a higher winning percentage than the team had with Blake’s nightly production.

If Blake does play tonight, the story will be how much his return boosts the Clippers’ still realistic chance to make the postseason—and whether the team should be pursuing that chance at all.

If he doesn’t play, we’ll probably get to see LouWill drop 40 on his former team, so it’ll still be fun.

The Bad Guys: Are we sure Staples doesn’t have some mutated form of MRSA that makes NBA players’ bodies fall apart? Blake is not the only star missing from tonight’s matchup. Well, maybe I shouldn’t throw around the word “star” so lightly.

Lonzo is out with a bad shoulder, and annoyingly good rookie sharpshooter Kyle Kuzma is questionable for tonight’s game with a hurt quad. That leaves the Lakers’ (11-22) promising young nucleus reduced to Brandon “I’m Kevin Durant, if Kevin Durant was really just Luol Deng” Ingram, Julius “I’m Z-Bo, if Z-Bo was really just left-handed Enes Kanter” Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson. Not really Embiid, Simmons and Saric, is it?

How to Watch:

TV: Fox Sports Prime Ticket. But honestly Bruce Bowen is so bad I don’t think Ralph would blame you if flipped it on over to the goddamn Laker channel.

Radio: AM 570.

Time: 7:30.

Location: Staples, with the ugly coloring this time (Lakers are home).

Four Stray Thoughts:

  1. The Clippers are 2-0 against the Lakers this year. If we win tonight, we’ll have clinched the regular season tilt against them for the sixth straight year. That’s a pretty long time.
  2. Clipper Nation mourned the departure of D’Angelo Russell, who exemplified pretty much everything awful about Lakerdom—a complete lack of self-awareness, exaggerated sense of his accomplishment, brattish Bieber-like demeanor. Plus he wasn’t all that great. Which Laker player among the young core will earn the title of Clipper Nation’s most despised Laker? The obvious bet is Lonzo, but his game is so selfless and personality so devoid of...personality that conflating him with Lavar just doesn’t generate the right level of animosity. My money is on Kuzma long-term.
  3. If we’re going to tank eventually, we’ll have to prepare to lose games to the Lakers down the line. That part is going to suck.
  4. Do you remember the time...