The NBA is finally back after a long layoff. The season starts with a bang as the Los Angeles Battle takes place on the second game of the opening day. Defending champions LA Lakers are hosting their city rivals, the Clippers, on Tuesday, December 22.
The Lakers put up an impressive 52-19 record last season and finished first in the Western conference before beating the Blazers, Rockets and Nuggets. The Lakers then managed to beat Miami Heat 4-2 in the finals.
The Clippers, meanwhile, had a 49-23 record last season. They finished second in the conference but were eliminated by the Nuggets in the quarterfinals. The two sides met recently in preseason and will both be hoping for a win and a positive start to the season.
Where to Watch Lakers vs Clippers in Canada
You can watch the LA Lakers vs the LA Clippers live on Sportsnet. The game starts at 10 pm EDT on Tuesday, December 22.
We don’t have to go back far in time to when these sides last faced off on the court. The Clippers and Lakers recently met twice in preseason, with the Lakers winning both games. In their preseason opener, the Lakers won 87-81, although both teams struggled to score points. The second game, however, was a much better showing from the Lakers, who comfortably won 131-106.
Going into this game, the Lakers will no doubt be buoyed by their preseason performances against the Clippers. However, preseason can often yield very different results than regular games and last season saw the teams tied with two games each in the four times they met. The Clippers have made a lot of changes since then, including the loss of their head coach Doc Rivers.
Based on being the defending champions and their preseason performance over their rivals, the Lakers are a 2.5-point favourite coming into this game. The moneyline has the Lakers at odds of -142 at Sports Interaction while the Clippers are at +118. While the Clippers did put up some good performances against the Lakers last season, we expect them to struggle here. The game is being held at the Staples Centre, and the Lakers had an excellent home record of 25-10 last season.
The Clippers have made multiple changes to their roster after their failure to progress in the playoffs, and while this could turn out well in the long-term, it’s unlikely to be enough to come away with a win on Tuesday. The Lakers have been in great form already in preseason, and many have tipped them as favourites to defend their title this season.
The main battle will take place between superstars Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard. As the two best players in the league, many fans will be watching to see how they perform, and the winning team will most likely be decided by who puts in the better performance. No matter what happens, this will most likely be a very close game.
Our Prediction: LA Lakers -2.5