Despite an early start to the 2017-18 NBA season, the wait has been far too long for Clipper Nation. Injuries derailed a chance for Doc Rivers’ team to build chemistry during the pre-season, and the same can be said about the Lakers with Lonzo Ball, the highly heralded point guard from Chino Hills High School and UCLA, missing extended time.
Along with injuries, sharing a city and stadium, both franchises are also debuting new faces that have fans buzzing. The Clippers have a higher roster turnover than anyone in the league not named Sacramento, having brought in Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Willie Reed and much more. Along with Ball, the Lakers will be debuting Kyle Kuzma, a late first round pick that is hoping to jump into the Rookie of the Year consideration.
Clippers: Patrick Beverly, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Lakers: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr., Brook Lopez
Clippers: Milos Teodosic, Lou Williams, Willie Reed
Lakers: Alex Caruso, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle
Clippers: Patrick Beverly (Knee), Austin Rivers (Glute), Danilo Gallinari (Foot), Sindarius Thornwell (Shoulder) & Sam Dekker (Oblique) are PROBABLE.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (Ankle), Julius Randle (Ribs), Andrew Bogut (Groin) are PROBABLE, Josh Hart (Achilles) is QUESTIONABLE, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is SUSPENDED.
It would be futile to not recognize that Beverly and Ball is the most intriguing match-up of the night. A highly anticipated rookie making his debut against one of the league’s premier defensive point guard, what more can you ask for. Both individuals making their first start for their new franchises.
Keys To The Game:
1] Ball Movement. With Chris Paul’s departure, the Clippers displayed great fluidity, allowing for Jordan to continue his exceptional field goal percentage, Blake to work as he wishes and Gallinari to show his repertoire.
2] Rebounding. Despite Jordan being among the league leaders in rebounds, the Clippers have continually struggled on the defensive glass. Thankfully, the Lakers are one of the few opponents that won’t punish the Clips on the offensive glass.
3] Hitting Free Throws. Already one of the league’s leaders in free throw attempts, thanks in part to the Hack-A-Jorda, the addition of Gallinari gives the Clippers one of the league’s elite at free throw rate. Getting to the line is half of the game, hitting the freebies is what will count.
Clippers walk out with a 111-98 victory, covering the spread (-5.0) but not meeting the over/under (220.5)