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Los Angeles Clippers Preview
The four-plus-month pause during the coronavirus pandemic might prove a positive for the Clippers, who have superstar duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fully healthy. George was unsettled by nagging muscle pulls but deemed himself ready for the showdown with the Lakers, who hold a 4.5-game lead in the Western Conference race for the No. 1 playoff seed.
The Clippers rounded out their roster with a few veterans that should help the team contend with Anthony Davis – now and presumably down the line – including Joakim Noah and Marcus Morris. Morris was acquired in February from the Boston Celtics. Lou Williams, instant offense off the bench, is a game-time decision.
Los Angeles Lakers Preview
Sharpshooters JR Smith and Dion Waiters lit up the Lakers’ restart scrimmages at the Wide World of Sports Complex and each of the veterans ended up with the ball in their hands late in games. If not a harbinger of what’s ahead for LeBron James’ latest push to bag a championship with a third different team is unclear, but the variety of lineup options had head coach Frank Vogel giddy entering Thursday’s game.
The Lakers might be working without Davis, who was poked in the eye on July 25 and was limited all week. Vogel said Davis is likely a game-time decision. Without him, the Lakers are likely to go small, but also don’t have point guard Rajon Rondo (hand) until September.
The Clippers won two of the three previous meetings in the regular season. The Lakers took the most recent game, 112-103 on March 8. Leonard and George had 58 combined points.