The Los Angeles Lakers were gifted a four-day layoff following their loss to the Sacramento Kings, providing the entire team a chance to reboot early in the season. We’ll get to see what that opportunity means to their success on the court when they get back to the grind Monday night as the visiting team against the LA Clippers.
The Clippers’ hot start, winning their first four games of the year, hit a few huge bumps already. They’ve since lost 11 of their last 15 games, are without Milos Teodosic, Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley, and look like a vulnerable team for a rested Lakers squad to feast on.
Speaking of injuries, Larry Nance Jr. is expected to return from his hand injury ,and signs currently point to him returning to the starting lineup. The Lakers are once again full strength.
Losing Chris Paul in the summer, and both Beverley and Teodosic to injuries, has left the responsibility of running the backcourt on the shoulders of Lou Williams and Austin Rivers. Expect to see big minutes from both guards, which can be a dangerous thing if Sweet Lou has that drifter going.
What the Lakers will certainly get is a full dose of Blake Griffin. He’s averaging 23.4 points per game, but is also shooting a career-worst 42.5 percent from the field. He also happens to be attempting a career-high 18.4 attempts per game, which all points to the Clippers’ franchise player having to carry a little more than he can on his own, and the offense still adjusting to life without their all-world point guard.
This is a game where the Lakers should crash the boards, push the pace and walk away with a victory. Head coach Luke Walton was clear that cleaning up their transition offense and turnovers was one of the biggest areas they focused on during the four-day break (no team practice on Thursday or Friday, either). We shall see.
Enjoy the game and return of Lakers basketball! Hope everyone’s holiday was great!
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, Prime