Regardless of who’s suiting up, the Battle for LA is always an intriguing matchup. While the ‘rivalry’ narrative is often overplayed considering the two teams have yet to meet in a playoff series, it’s still fun to see the two teams duke it out at Staples Center. However, it can’t be denied that Sunday’s matchup would be exponentially more exciting if the Lakers’ stars were healthy.
But we can’t always get what we want. LeBron James is still recovering from his right high-ankle sprain, and Anthony Davis is still rehabbing his calf injury. Additionally, newly-acquired Lakers center Andre Drummond is questionable to play with a toe injury he suffered recently. Veteran shooter Wesley Mathews is also questionable with a neck injury.
The Clippers are no clean bill of health either, but the good news is that recently acquired point guard Rajon Rondo will make his Clipper debut against the Lakers. Rondo missed his first four potential games as a Clipper with right adductor soreness, but he’ll be ready to go against his former team, with whom he won a championship last season. Unfortunately, Patrick Beverley (right knee soreness) and Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness) will miss Sunday’s matchup. Paul George is good to go as well, despite a bone edema in his toe that has been bothering him of late.
With James and Davis out, the Clippers will be focused on Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma as primary defensive assignments. Kuzma dropped 30 points in the Lakers’ win against the Kings on Friday, while Schroder contributed 17 points and eight assists. The Clippers will also have to deal with their old friend Montrezl Harrell, who left the Clippers to join the Lakers in free agency last offseason.
Without the Lakers’ two stars, the Clippers are by far the more talented team. However, this does not mean that the Lakers will go away quietly. They are still going to execute defensively, and have enough offensive creation to get by if the Clippers aren’t locked in. The Clippers should look to take advantage of the Lakers' injury issues, as they are currently only half a game up in the standings for third place in the Western Conference. A Clippers win would also secure the season series against the Lakers, which would come into play in tie-breaking scenarios in terms of seeding.
The two LA teams will face off on Easter Sunday, April 4, at 12:30 p.m.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (32-18) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (31-18)
Date: Sunday, April 4
Time: 12:30 p.m. PT
Venue: Staples Center
Broadcast Information: ABC
Spread: Clippers -11
Moneyline: Lakers +480 Clippers -650
Point Total: O/U 215.5
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook