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Clippers vs. Lakers preview and game thread: A healthier LA duel

Teams get tune-up with many of their best players returning.

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

Well, the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers aren’t quite fully healthy, but this is as close as they’ll get against each other before the end of the regular season, as they are scheduled to square off Thursday evening at Staples Center, this one technically being a Clippers home game.

Game Information

When: Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. PT

Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

How to watch/listen: TNT

Opposing perspective: Silver Screen and Roll

Projected Starting Lineups

Clippers (44-22): Reggie Jackson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr.

Lakers (37-28): Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso


Clippers: Serge Ibaka (back), Amir Coffey (health & safety protocols) — OUT

Lakers: LeBron James (ankle), Dennis Schröder (foot) — OUT; Talen Horton-Tucker (calf) — QUESTIONABLE

The Clippers enter this game off a win Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors, perhaps not the sharpest performance by LA but certainly much welcome after a three-game losing streak. Kawhi Leonard has been back a couple games and Patrick Beverley made his long-awaited return against the Raptors. The veteran guard should be a key player for LA in the playoffs if he can stay healthy — no one else on the roster can guard the top perimeter players like him and his energy and leadership bring intangible qualities the Clippers need at times.

The Lakers have been hurt lately and they are also slowly getting guys back in action, although LeBron James remains out for this game, alongside Dennis Schröder. Still, the Lakers are also getting healthier and are also coming off a win, against the Denver Nuggets, who had previously beat the Clips on their losing skid. The Lakers have acquired Andre Drummond since the teams last played and could potentially play a pretty big lineup if they so choose.

As it stands, these teams would face each other in the first round if the playoffs started today. I’m pretty sure neither team wants that in the opening round, but we’ll see what happens. I think we’ll start to see these teams ease off the gas pedal a bit in the final games of the regular season, but with both teams aiming to get into a rhythm and get healthy players back in gear, I don’t expect either team to take this particular outing lightly.