Lakers at Clippers: 3 Things to Know (3/8/20)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ early battle with the LA Clippers.
1) No fear against the Deer
Last time the Lakers took the court, they did so against Milwaukee, the team with the best record in the NBA.
It was a heavyweight bout between the two conference leaders, as the Bucks threw some early punches that the Lakers answered to tie the game at halftime before breaking it open with 18 unanswered points in the third quarter. LeBron James was absolutely brilliant, dropping 37 points in a constant barrage of attacks at the rim.
Fellow MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 32, but was much less effective once James took on the task of defending him. LeBron also had the necessary firepower alongside him, as Anthony Davis came through huge in the fourth to finish with 30 of his own.
2) King vs. Klaw
LeBron’s defense on Giannis was an absolute game-changer on Friday night. The question Sunday afternoon will be if and when the Lakers decide to sic him on Kawhi Leonard.
The reigning NBA Finals MVP, Leonard has been a machine in both of the Clippers’ first games against the Lakers, pouring in 30 points on Opening Night and 35 on Christmas Day. One of the best two-way players in the game, Kawhi ranks 8th in scoring (26.9) and 5th in steals (1.8).
On the other side, LeBron’s scoring has been the Lakers’ engine to success. Over his last eight games, he’s averaged 30.6 points and 10.1 assists, while the Lakers have improved to 20-0 in games when he scores at least 30.
3) Battle atop the West
The top two teams in the Western Conference will duel for the third time this season. While the Clippers may have won the first two meetings, the Lakers have nonetheless soared to a 5.5-game hold on first place with only 21 contests remaining in the regular season.
Then it’s onto the playoffs, for which the Lakers have already clinched their tickets after winning against Milwaukee. And the Clippers — winners of six straight — present just as formidable a challenge.
Both teams are among the most well-rounded in the NBA, with the Lakers boasting the NBA’s 4th-rated offense (112.7) and 3rd-rated defense (105.5), while the Clippers rank 3rd on O (112.8) and 5th on D (106.5).
Lakers: Anthony Davis (sore left elbow) and Alex Caruso (sore right hamstring) are probable.
Tip-Off: 12:30 p.m. PT
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: White Association
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
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