The Battle of LA has never had a chance to meet the hype it had once Kawhi Leonard came to Los Angeles. A combination of injuries and playoff collapses have stopped fans from experiencing consistent, top-level competition between the Clippers and Lakers. With the two teams scheduled to play on Friday night, this matchup will be no different.
Both LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard will be sidelined for Friday’s game, and in response, ESPN has pulled the matchup from their network. The rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns will replace the Clippers vs. Lakers game.
While ironic, this move is not surprising. National outlets have made moves like this before, in order to maximize viewership. Most NBA fans would rather watch the league’s two best teams battle it out, than a watered down version of The Battle of LA without the matchup’s two biggest stars.
Due to injuries, neither the Clippers or Lakers are anywhere near where they expect to be in the standings. Just a half-game separates the two teams, with the Lakers at 12-11, and the Clippers at an even 11-11.
For those still interested in Friday’s matchup, it is expected to still be broadcasted locally on Bally Sports West and Spectrum Sportsnet. It will be a Lakers' home game, with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 PST.