Skip to main content

The Battle of LA has yet to meet the hype it had once Kawhi Leonard came to Los Angeles. A combination of injuries and playoff collapses has stopped fans from experiencing consistent, top-level competition between the Clippers and Lakers. The two teams have turned in some great games when both sides have been at full-strength, but that just hasn’t happened much.

As it pertains to Friday’s iteration of this matchup, it was initially supposed to be without both Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James; however, with LeBron clearing health and safety protocols, he is expected to return for this matchup.

Perhaps had LeBron exited the league’s health and safety protocols sooner, this matchup would still be on ESPN. When it was believed that both Kawhi and LeBron would be sidelined, ESPN pulled the game from its network in favor of the rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.

LeBron being available obviously changes quite a bit for this matchup, with the primary adjustment being how the Clippers choose to set their defense. At full strength, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum, and Paul George would each get time on LeBron; however, both Kawhi and Batum are sidelined for this matchup. It’s unclear whether coach Ty Lue wants to give Paul George the LeBron assignment, considering the responsibility he has offensively as well, but that certainly seems like the Clippers’ best option.

Assuming he plays, as he is currently listed as questionable, the Clippers will also have their hands full with Anthony Davis in this matchup. In years past, the Clippers have opted to defend Davis with strength over size. Guys like Patrick Patterson, Moe Harkless, and JaMychal Green each got extended time on AD the last couple of seasons; however, none of those players are on the roster anymore. This will likely leave those duties to Marcus Morris, which should be an interesting experience.

While these defensive tactics are worthy conversations, the concern for the Clippers is their offense. They currently possess a bottom-5 offense in the entire NBA, and it has looked every bit as bad as the metrics say it is. A combination of inconsistency from key players, and turnovers from Paul George specifically, has disallowed for any consistent competency on the offensive end. Until this changes, not much else matters.

While it can be easy to look at this matchup against the Lakers and deem it insignificant due to the absences the Clippers will have, it ultimately counts the same regardless of who plays. With just a half game of separation between these two teams, the season series could hold massive seeding implications. The Lakers have shown, even with their Big-3, that they can be beat by anybody. The Clippers will look to join that list of teams, even without their best player. 

How to Watch

Matchup: LA Clippers (11-11) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (12-11)

Date: December 3rd, 2021

Read More

Time: 7:30 PM PST

Venue: Staples Center

Broadcast: Bally Sports / Spectrum Sportsnet

Betting Info

Spread: Lakers -1

Moneyline: Clippers -102, Lakers -116

Point Total: N/A

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

LeBron James Clears Protocols, Will Play Against Clippers

Paul George Reacts to Steph Curry's Dominant Performance

LaVar Ball Wants LiAngelo Ball on the Clippers, Not The Lakers