Coming off of a stinging loss to the Kings in Paul George’s first missed game for rest and extended their losing streak to three, the Clippers seek to get back above .500 with a win against the Lakers. While this game could be important for tiebreaker purposes for the two teams, both which find themselves close to play-in territory in the loaded Western Conference, the rest of the league’s eyes will likely be elsewhere.
In fact, what was supposed to be a nationally-televised game has been replaced by an encore of the recent exciting matchup between the Suns and the Warriors, both of which are currently tied as the top team in the entire NBA. Despite the lack of attention a Los Angeles showdown would typically have, this game will be a test for both teams as they continue to fight for a playoff spot.
LeBron James, who sat out recently due to COVID-19 protocols, will be able to take the court alongside Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. The Lakers would surely like to extend their two-game winning streak to three, but their consistency has been sporadic at best, even with James’ presence.
When: Friday, December 3 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Silver Screen and Roll
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Eric Bledsoe, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Lakers: Russell Westbrook, Wayne Ellington, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard
Clippers: Nicolas Batum, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT
Lakers: Avery Bradley — QUESTIONABLE; Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn — OUT
The Clippers, on the other hand, will enjoy George’s return after a day of rest. Having the offensive depth of Brandon Boston Jr., who showed off on the court against the Kings, and the scoring potential of Marcus Morris Sr., who has missed the majority of the early season, will surely take pressure off of George and off of the Clippers’ offense as a whole. Still, their offense has not matched expectations, so more schematic changes might be needed to return to the comfort we saw during the 2020-21 campaign. Additionally, the absence of Nicolas Batum will remove an impactful two-way player from the equation in this matchup, keeping the Clippers handicapped.
Falling below the .500 mark is a scary sight for the Clippers, and a win can avoid that (or at least postpone it). Perhaps this will act as a motivator for a team that is desperate for energy and momentum, but the Clippers still have plenty of time to zero-in on their weaknesses before too much of the season passes.