The Los Angeles Lakers have not defeated the Los Angeles Clippers since the 2020 season inside the bubble. They will have a chance to end that 11-game losing streak against a Clippers team that is light on bodies following their recent trade for James Harden.
Harden is expected to be unavailable and PJ Tucker is making his Clipper debut while the Lakers are expected to without guard Gabe Vincent and forward Rui Hachimura for the contest. But this should still be an extremely intense game as is always the case when these teams meet.
Anthony Davis continues to dominate on both ends of the court since that awful second half on Opening Night against the Nuggets. In the last three games, Davis is averaging 28.7 points, 15.7 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. He will need to continue that path of dominance and lead the way for the Lakers on both ends of the floor to be successful.
The Lakers also need great production from their backcourt. D’Angelo Russell is coming off his best game of the early season and the Lakers need more of his shooting and playmaking, especially with Vincent potentially out. Austin Reaves, however, has gotten off to a slow start this season. It is only a matter of time before he turns it around and perhaps this is the night he gets going as he will likely see some more minutes as well.
It will also be interesting to see if Darvin Ham turns to second-year guard Max Christie with three rotation players out. Throwing him out there to guard Paul George or Russell Westbrook could pay dividends and he could also provide a boost to the Lakers’ perimeter shooting.
LeBron James has continued to do a great job of pacing himself so far this season and picking his spots. His fourth quarter production has been crucial for the Lakers and that will likely be needed once again. And he always seems to get up for these matchups with Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard has actually struggled to start the season for the Clippers, averaging fewer than 20 points and shooting a career-worst percentage from the field. Rather it has been George leading the offense, but the Lakers have to be wary as players such as Norman Powell and Bones Hyland are more than capable of getting hot. Not to mention Russell Westbrook has been playing extremely well and is the heart of the Clippers, surely wanting to take it to his former team.
The depth of the Clippers will be put to the test, however. They were basically down to just eight players against the Magic after trading away four players in that Harden deal so if they have to deal with any sort of foul trouble it could be a problem.
The Lakers issues rebounding are well known and they must be shored up against the Clippers as not only do they rank in the top-10 in second chance points, but they lead the NBA in 3-point percentage and offensive rebounds often lead to wide-open threes on scramble possessions. The Clippers also lead the NBA in points off turnovers so taking care of the ball is a must for the Lakers if they plan on getting above the .500 mark.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-2) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (3-1)
7 p.m. PT, November 1, 2023
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Christian Wood, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes, Max Christie
Projected Clippers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Bones Hyland
SF: Paul George
PF: Kawhi Leonard
C: Ivica Zubac
Key Reserves: Norman Powell, PJ Tucker, Mason Plumlee, Kobe Brown, Amir Coffey
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