While many could have guessed it, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed on Friday that LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers will be facing off against Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on Christmas Day next season.
The Lakers last played the Clippers on Christmas Day in 2016, and while the Lakers were able to come out on top thanks to a pair of 19-point performances from Nick Young and Timofey Mozgov, they weren’t in the same hemisphere as the Clippers competitively. At the time, the Clippers were 22-10 and among the favorites to win the Western Conference, while the Lakers were 12-22 and struggling to find their identity under their new head coach, Luke Walton.
This time around, both the Clippers and Lakers will be in the mix for not just a playoff spot, but a shot at the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. While it’s unlikely that the two L.A. teams will be facing off for the first time on Christmas Day, both teams will have a better idea of where they stand 30-plus games into the season as opposed to just a handful.
Is one Christmas Day game enough to pencil a team in as a title favorite? No, or else the Lakers would have been facing off against the Toronto Raptors last season, not the Golden State Warriors. However, if the Lakers are doing well and they beat the Clippers on one of the biggest nights of the season, it might be a sign that they’re legitimate contenders, not pretenders.
It’s no Nintendo Switch Lite, but a Lakers-Clippers game is still a pretty awesome Christmas Day gift. The only thing that would make it better is Christmas Day jerseys. Make it happen, Nike.