LOS ANGELES (AP) —The Lakers and Clippers will square off Christmas night in the much anticipated Battle of Los Angeles and a matchup between the two top-ranked teams in the Western Conference.
The Clippers defeated the Lakers 112-102 in the season opener on Oct. 22.
The game tips off Wednesday at 5 p.m.
The Lakers have Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The Clippers now have Paul George and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Those two pairings shook up the league’s landscape considerably when they came together this past summer, and so far with the Lakers at 24-6 and the Clippers at 22-10, neither side has much to complain about.
“I think we’re good,” George said. “I think we’re good.”
The Clippers are 10-3 in games where both Leonard and George start. Davis and James are one of two duos where both are averaging more than 25 points per game; Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota are the other.
The pairing of James and Davis has looked spectacular at times already. If there was any confusion about whether those two superstar talents could work together, those questions have been answered.
“We know what the end goal is,” Davis said. “And when you have guys like that, with veteran leadership, when everyone is locked in to our goal, it’s easy for us to jell together.”
James puts it even more simply.
“It’s about getting better, each and every day,” James said.
Christmas is where last year’s Lakers season went wrong — they were fourth in the West, then James got hurt on Dec. 25 and L.A. went on a free fall out of the playoff picture. And injuries will affect some of what the league gets to display on Christmas this year as well.
The Lakers have gone 3-1 against division opponents. They have a 14-6 record when allowing 100 or more points.
The Clippers are 14-7 against Western Conference opponents. They rank fourth in the league with 47.8 rebounds per game led by Kawhi Leonard averaging 7.8.
Rajon Rondo is scoring 7.6 points per game and averaging 3.7 rebounds for the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has averaged 10.7 points and 2 rebounds while shooting 48.0 percent over the last 10 games for the Lakers.
Paul George is averaging 24.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Clippers. Montrezl Harrell has averaged 18.8 points and totaled 6.4 rebounds while shooting 51.5 percent over the last 10 games for the Clippers.
LAST 10 GAMES:
Lakers: 7-3, averaging 112.4 points, 46.8 rebounds, 24.6 assists, 8.5 steals and 6.9 blocks per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field. Their opponents have averaged 106.7 points on 44.7 percent shooting.
Clippers: 6-4, averaging 116.1 points, 45.3 rebounds, 22.9 assists, 8.8 steals and 3.9 blocks per game while shooting 46.6 percent from the field. Their opponents have averaged 110.3 points on 44.4 percent shooting.
Lakers: LeBron James: day to day (back), DeMarcus Cousins: out (knee), Anthony Davis: day to day (knee).
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard: day to day (knee), Patrick Beverley: day to day (groin).
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