The Los Angeles Clippers (44-20) and Los Angeles Lakers (49-14) square off on reopening night of the NBA regular season on Thursday, July 30th, inside the ‘bubble’ at the Walt Disney World Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.
The league is back after almost a four-month hiatus with a pair of contests setting the restart table. Tipoff for this matchup, the nightcap of the doubleheader, is scheduled for 9:00 pm EST and can be viewed on TNT. The Lakers (-4.5) are the favorites, according to the sportsbook.
What to Know – Los Angeles Clippers
Entering the restart, the Clippers are in second place in the West, 5.5 games behind their opponent the Lakers. The Clippers will try to fend off a host of teams during the eight-game regular season to preserve their second-place finish. Depth will be a significant factor for the Clippers, who will be without Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverly, and Ivica Zubac.
The Clippers will have their two best players at their disposal for the remainder of the season. With Kawhi Leonard (26.9 ppg) and Paul George (21.0 ppg) in the fold, the Clippers should still battle with any opponent they will face. Joakim Noah was signed during the shutdown to help provide depth to the team’s frontline.
When these two teams last met, the Clippers fell at home by nine, 112-103. Pacing the scoring was George (31 points) and Leonard (27 points). Harrell chipped in 20 points off the bench.
What to Know – Los Angeles Lakers
The oddsmakers favorite to win the NBA Championship; the Lakers are looking to pick up where they left off before the league hiatus. The Lakers were 12-3 over their last 15 contests through February and mid-March. Avery Bradley will not be with the team to close out the remainder of the season, however.
The dynamic duo of LeBron James (25.7 ppg, 10.6 apg, 7.9 rpg) and Anthony Davis (26.7 ppg. 9.4 rpg) will descend on Orlando to continue their league dominance. The two All-Stars have combined for over 45% of the Lakers scoring output. Look for Davis to have his way against the Clippers under matched frontcourt.
Dion Waiters and JR Smith will add depth and scoring off the bench for the Lakers. Waiters signed with Los Angeles in February but did not appear in any contests while JR Smith inked a deal with the team before the league restart.
The Lakers are 1-2 against the Clips this season but won their most recent battle before the coronavirus pandemic began. In that contest, Davis (30 points) and James (28 points) paced the Lakers offensively.
The Pick is In
With the Clippers playing with depleted depth and a short time frame to try and work in new additions, LeBron and the Lakers should match up well against their crosstown rivals. With the absences of so many vital Clippers, we like the Lakers (-4.5) in this one.