Lakers face Clippers in most important game of the season
The Lakers' most important game of the season comes tonight against the Clippers. This game has a ton of ramifications for the playoffs.
THE LAKERS HAVE OFFICIALLY CLINCHED A PLAY-IN SPOT AT WORST.— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) April 5, 2023
After ALL the drama… this team fought through. And hungry for more 😈
The Lakers are tied with the Clippers for the 6th seed in the Western Conference. It is important to secure a top-six seed, as it would give them a guaranteed playoff spot instead of having to go through the play-in tournament.
These teams are rivals, and this is their biggest game against each other in the LeBron James-Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era. The Clippers will be without George, but the Lakers will see Russell Westbrook for the first time since trading him at the deadline.
Westbrook has played in 18 games for the Clippers and thrived for them. He is averaging 15/5/8 while shooting 48.4% and 32.3% from three for them.
Leonard is also having a great season, and the Clippers' depth is strong. They have lost two straight games and are 5-5 in their last ten games. The absence of George has been tough for them, but they are still a very competitive team.
Darvin Ham said they’ll wait to evaluate LeBron, AD and Russell’s status for tomorrow’s B2B in the morning. It’ll be a late arrival after the flight from Utah.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) April 5, 2023
LeBron and AD played significant minutes tonight in the front end of a B2B; Russell missed the game (foot soreness).
A big question mark for the LakeShow is the status of James, Davis, and D’Angelo Russell. These are three of their top players, and without them, it would be a tough game. Laker nation can hope that all three suit up in a very important game.
The Lakers will need James and Davis to lead the way, with the others following suit. This gameplan has worked for Darvin Ham of late, as feeding James and Davis has led to others being able to get more open looks. The defense has been focused on the star duo, leading to players like Russell, Austin Reaves, and Rui Hachimura to step up offensively.
Clippers center Ivica Zubac commented on the importance of the game, saying, “I think this is the most important game that I’ve been in with the Lakers [and] Clippers. You can feel it now. It’s gonna be [the] biggest game of the season for both teams. I can’t wait.”
Zubac will play a key role in the game as he will have the tall task of guarding Davis. Head coach Ty Lue plans to trust Zubac and have him defend Davis one-on-one rather than sending double teams.
The winner of that matchup could be a determining factor in which team comes away victorious.
Both teams stand at 41-38 entering this game, which will be one for the ages. Whichever one of these teams emerges with a victory will move up in the standings in the West. Look for the Lakers and Clippers to bring their A-game in this pivotal swing game.