The Los Angeles Lakers will meet their intercity rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, for the first time this season on Christmas Day. The matchup will be the last of the loaded Christmas slate. Both teams find themselves in unfamiliar territory going into the holiday matchup, with Kobe Bryant playing in his final Christmas Day game.
The Lakers are 5-24 and heading toward the worst single-season record in franchise history. While the team wasn't considered a contender, it certainly expected to have more than five wins this late in the year. The Kobe farewell tour is in full effect with Bryant showing a resurgence to NBA-level play in the previous few games.
D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle will likely see more time in this game due to matchups. Russell has been improving over the course of the season and is averaging 11.9 points, 3.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Even though D'Angelo is coming off the bench, he will certainly play some minutes against an elite point guard in Chris Paul. Randle is putting up 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game and will get to tangle with Blake Griffin. Julius is considered probable with an ankle injury.
The Clippers entered the season contending for a title, but are just 16-13 entering their first game with the Lakers. Griffin has continued his stellar play averaging 23.6 points per game and Paul is still dishing out nine assists each contest. DeAndre Jordan is putting up a double-double every game, but continues to be subject to the foul game because he shoots just 39 percent from the stripe.
If the Lakers start falling behind early, expect Byron Scott go the "Hack-a-DeAndre" route. Enjoy the game, and happy holidays!
Time: 7:30 P.M. pt
TV: ESPN, TWCSN