Preview: Lakers aim to sleigh Clippers in Christmas Day matchup

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 22: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers controls possession of the ball in front of LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers late in the fourth quarter in a 112-102 Clipper win during the LA Clippers season home opener at Staples Center on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Christmas just ain’t Christmas without the ones you loathe. The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers are heading into Wednesday’s matchup with a lot of bad blood between the two for many reasons. The Lakers are carrying a history of superstar lineage and championships while the Clippers are looking to build a legacy on the back of their new big dogs. Monday’s explosive story on the Lakers being left at the alter by Kawhi Leonard only adds to the juice of the face-off.

Return of The Stars

The Lakers’ three-game losing streak has included missed time by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, lack of practice, and the overall woes of a long December road-trip. Despite the skid, they have the second-best record in the league and the duo are expected to play on Wednesday.
LeBron had a very weird game to start the season. His obvious passiveness seemed to be an effort to feel out the team’s new roster and work AD into his offensive role. Much of that load was posting him up for a total of 27 times. Hopefully, there’s more pick and roll between Bron and Brow in this iteration. This time around, they’ll be able to try Kuzma on the wing as an option to strengthen that attack.

Bench Woes

The Lakers bench has to show up on Christmas. They’ve given an up and down effort since posting 53 points in the closest of their three losses against the Indiana Pacers. The monstrous effort was followed up by a four-point dud against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Clippers bench will come loaded with Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell leading the way. In the season-opener, the two singlehandedly outscored the Lakers bench 31-19. Luckily for LA, Kuzma and Rajon Rondo have returned from injury after missing the first matchup. Their presence could prove to be a galvanizing force to relieve their starters.

Winning In Transition

Five transition points. These are all of the buckets that the Lakers could muster on opening night. They’re coming into the game ranked eighth in transition points per game at 20.8 per contest. LeBron loves to find AD on leaks after a strong contest. This could be a useful weapon in ending this losing streak.

Wednesday’s game kicks off at 8PM EST/5PM PST at Staples Center. This game marks the Lakers 21st consecutive game played on Christmas.

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