Clippers Enter Battle of LA Part 2 Fully Healthy


As the NBA season nears closer to the halfway point, the league gets ready for the highly anticipated Christmas games. One game that has been on a lot of people’s list is the battle of Los Angeles. The LA Lakers and LA Clippers are set to tip off for the second time this season at 8 PM EST. The Lakers will have their name on mid-court as they are the “home” team of this match-up.

This is the first time these teams have played since the first game of the season which ended in a 10-point Clippers win. This time, the Lakers and Clippers enter this game first and fourth in the Western Conference respectively. Both teams are looking to get back in the win column after losing their previous games. The Lakers fell to the Denver Nuggets 128-104 and the Clippers fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-112. Both teams are fighting injuries with key players. Lakers’ LeBron James is fighting with a thoracic muscle strain that kept him out of their last game and Anthony Davis fighting a knee injury he suffered in the previous game. Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard has been playing with a knee injury that has lead to multiple load management decisions. James, Davis, and Leonard are expected to play.

If something changes, and James and Davis have to sit out, this could impact the Lakers’ offense. James is averaging 25.8 points with 10.6 assists per game and Davis is getting 27.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. The absence of one or both of the Lakers’ key players, can effect their game plan. If one of them doesn’t play, this wouldn’t be the first time a key player is absent during the Battle of LA.

Stars Aligning This Time

The first time the Lakers and Clippers played, the Clippers didn’t have Paul George because of his shoulder injury. With George in the game, it will give for an all-star match-up of Leonard and George vs. James and Davis. Leonard, George, James, and Davis have been averaging over 20 points/game all season. Leonard and George are known for being good defenders, James and Davis known for being good scorers, so this leads for an interesting match-up. Although the game will revolve around the four all-stars, they won’t be the only players that will impact the game.

Off the Bench

The benches of the Lakers and Clippers feature players that can change the outcome of the game. For the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma is coming off his first game back because of an ankle injury that kept him out five games. Kuzma is averaging 11.3 points per game this season and is playing significant minutes off the bench with 23. He is coming off a sophomore season averaging 18.7 points/game so the league in familiar with what he can do. The third-year forward is capable of being the third man behind James and Davis.

The Clippers’ bench has been one of the best the last couple years. This can be because of the duo of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Williams and Harrell are first and second among all players coming off the bench with scoring 19.5 and 19 points/game respectively. The duo helps give the Clippers 51.3 points/game off the bench which is first in the NBA. Williams and Harrell have combined for 1031 points off the bench so far this season. That is more points than some teams’ entire bench combined. The duo also shares the most time on the court with Leonard and George with Williams getting 30.2 minutes and Harrell getting 29.1 minutes a game. Once both these players get on the court, they are just as effective to the Clippers as Leonard and George are.

Mid-Season Numbers

With the combined effort from the bench and starters, the Lakers and Clippers find themselves top 10 in a number of statistical categories. The biggest of those categories include team points, offensive efficiency, and defensive efficiency. The Lakers rank at 10th with 112.3 points and the Clippers sit at the fifth spot with 115.7 points per game. To go along with the points, the Lakers rank fifth in offensive efficiency with 111.6 and the Clippers rank seventh with 111.1 points per 100 possessions.

On the other side of the ball, the Lakers sit at the eighth spot in the NBA with 104.5 and the Clippers are at fifth with 104.2 points allowed per 100 possessions. When putting the offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency together, the Lakers rank fourth with a net rating of 7.1 and the Clippers rank fifth with 6.9. The Battle of LA will be a game these teams put their abilities to the test.

With the halfway point of the season coming closer, teams are beginning to build chemistry with their teammates. With Leonard and George being new to the Clippers and Davis being new to the Lakers, they are starting to get comfortable with their roles on the team. This means that the Lakers and Clippers, as well as other teams around the league, are beginning to take complete form. The Lakers and Clippers are looking to finish top of the West and make a run for the title. Although they are at the top of the West now, there’s still plenty of season left for teams to make a run or fall apart.

All Stats taken from Follow us on Twitter @TLSportsMedia for the latest NBA news and insight.


About Jordan Taylor

Los Angeles Clippers Writer. Email: | Twitter: @jtfsu98

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