Preseason is finally coming to a close tonight as the Lakers face off against their arena tenants the Los Angeles Clippers. Heading into the game the Lakers sit at 1-4 in the preseason while the Clippers are 2-2, if that’s something that matters to you. This game serves as a preview of sorts for when the two teams tip off the regular season against eachother on October 19th.
The Clippers are entering uncharted territory this season as they had a large number of roster changes, including trading Chris Paul. Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan are the face of the post-CP3 Clippers so it will be interesting to see how Doc Rivers builds a game plan around those two.
The Lakers will have to end the preseason without their starting point guard as Lonzo Ball will miss his fourth game in a row with a sprained ankle. However, Luke Walton hinted at this being more of a precautionary thing and is confident that Ball will be able to suit up on opening night. Andrew Bogut, who has yet to see any time in the preseason, will miss the game as well.
Now, as for guys that will play tonight, the Lakers have an on-going battle for the starting power forward spot. For the third consecutive game, Larry Nance, Jr will draw the start alongside Brook Lopez. While Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle have both produced more in the preseason, Luke Walton has said there is only a “10 percent chance Kuzma starts on opening night.” so this is primarily a battle between Randle and Nance, Jr. Since we likely will not know the starting lineup for the opener until closer to the 19th, we can look to see if Randle and Kuzma can cap off their strong preseason performances tonight.
In their last game, the Lakers lost a close matchup with the Utah Jazz 105-99. The game was back and forth down the stretch but in the last few minutes Utah made key stops and rookie Donavon Mitchell took over. Many of the shots the Lakers took late in the game, mainly by Brandon Ingram, were less than ideal. After starting the game well and playing effectively and efficiently for three quarters, the second year wing resorted back to forcing shots that ultimately did not fall. However, for the first three quarters of the game Ingram looked poised and contributed in a number of ways on both ends of the floor. Ingram will look to do the same tonight, and hopefully do it for all four quarters.