The NBA sure knows how to make a splashy intro.
On the very first day of the 2020-21 regular season, NBA fans will be feasting on a tasty pre-Christmas Day matchup between the top two favorites in the Western Conference in the LA Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In this battle of LA squads, who do you think will come away with a W?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 11 AM Manila time
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (0-0, 0-0 at home)
The Lakers can make a huge statement right out of the gate of their title defense if they can take down the Clippers at home on Wednesday. While that’s going to be easier said than done, the Lakers, at least on paper, are stronger this time around than they were last season when they won it all in the Orlando bubble.
The Lakers shored up their roster, with the addition of the likes of Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol. Montrezl’s shift of LA allegiance to the Lakers will be closely watched in this game, especially since he spent the past three seasons with the Clippers.
Harrell and Schroder will bring so much energy and firepower off the bench, considering they were the top two sixth men last season.
But at the end of the day, the Lakers are going to be the LeBron James and Anthony Davis show. Last season, James averaged 21.3 points in four games against the Clippers, while Davis had 28.3 points in those contests. The Lakers have gone 5-3 against the spread in their last eight games as the home team, dating back to last season.
ROAD TEAM: LA Clippers (0-0, 0-0 on the road)
The Clippers will try again. After falling short of accomplishing their title aspirations last season, the Clippers have their eyes on the prize again, which is a fair target, as they still have the superstar duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
With a new head coach in Tyronn Lue, who’s supposed to be a better ego massager than Doc Rivers, the Clippers expect to get more from their expensive stars.
Say what you want about Paul George, but he remains a terrific two-way asset for the Clippers. George will come into this season with a chip on his shoulder, and that’s something that could pay off for the Clippers, who went 2-2 straight up and 3-1 against the spread in four meetings with the Lakers in the last campaign.
With Leonard and George, the Clippers have two fantastic perimeter defenders to throw at LeBron James, but it’s also interesting to see just how big of an impact Serge Ibaka would have on the team. A big man who can protect the rim and stretch the floor, Ibaka fortifies both the Clippers’ offense and defense, while bringing over a veteran presence in the locker room.
It just seems unfair that the team that won the title last October just got better over the course of a short offseason. The Clippers will put up a fight in this game and will make it close, but Davis and LeBron plus the Lakers’ bench will be too much in the end for Leonard and company. The Lakers win this game, 109-103.