Team: LA Clippers (14-19) at Los Angeles Lakers (11-22)
Time: Friday, December 29, 2017 at 10:30pm ET (Staples Center)
The third round of the battle for LA begins tonight; unfortunately, both teams could be missing up to 3 starters. The Clippers will be without the services of Patrick Beverley & Danilo Gallinari, and Blake Griffin is questionable. The Lakers will be missing Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez, and possibly Kyle Kuzma. Despite all of the injuries, tonight should make for an exciting game. You almost never see two teams in the same building go against each other, and it’s always interesting when it does happen. The last time these two teams met, Lou Williams scored a blistering 42 points.
The short-handed Clippers have played good basketball as of late, winning 6 out of the last 10 games. However, the Lakers are in the midst 4 of a game losing streak, and are in desperate need of a win.
Regardless of the Lakers’ losing streak, the Clippers can not take them lightly. The Lakers are a young team that hustles harder than almost every other team in the league.
Disrupt the Offense
It’s been one month since these two teams have faced off, but the Lakers haven’t largely evolved much. The Lakers have improved to the 11th best offensive team in the league (106.3 PPG), and the 10th best passing team (22.9 APG). However, they’re still second most turnover prone team in the league (16 TOVPG).
The Lakers have the ability to get hot offensively, so the Clippers need to make sure that doesn’t happen. The Lakeshow also has a tendency to implode on the offensive end, which must be the Clippers’ mission this game.
Contain the Glass
The Lakers do a tremendous job on the boards. Their ability to contain the boards results in: a ton of easy second chance points, points in the paint, and a high percentage of points in the paint. To give you a numeric detail, the Lakers are: 3rd in rebounds per game (46.6), 5th in second chance points per game (14.4), 1st in points in the paint (53.6), and 1st in percentage of points in the paint (50.5%). The Clippers need to hustle on every possession & go after every 50/50 ball, if they want to stay in this game. If there is a team that will punish you for a lack of effort, it’s the Lakers.
Prediction: If the Lakers have more than 16 turnovers, the Clippers will win the game.