The NBA is back…sort of.
The regular season will kick off on Dec. 23, but the preseason starts this Saturday, with an all-LA clash between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers on tap.
These are two title favorites going at it, albeit with several key players either not suiting up or playing scant minutes. Nevertheless, it’s great to see NBA action again.
Catch this game live on Dec. 12 at 11 AM, Manila time.
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (0-0, 0-0 at home)
LeBron James and Anthony Davis form the superstar duo that makes the Lakers run, but in this preseason game, don’t expect the two to play at all.
With just a short turnaround from their title-clinching win in the Finals against the Miami Heat last October, the Lakers would rather give James and Davis all the rest they can before the regular season than force them to play in a virtually meaningless contest. Instead, look for this team to get its new guys a feel of what it’s like to compete in Lakers uniform.
We’re talking about the likes of Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, and Marc Gasol, who are all part of the Lakers’ incredibly rich offseason haul. Also look for Talen Horton-Tucker to be showcased in this game, as the Lakers want to know how much improvement the sophomore shooting guard out of Iowa State has made in the offseason.
In his rookie year in the NBA, Talen Horton-Tucker averaged 15.1 points per 36 minutes of action.
ROAD TEAM: LA Clippers (0-0, 0-0 on the road)
Should we expect the Clippers to play Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in this preseason contest?
Given the bad taste left on their mouth by their playoff exit at the hands of the Denver Nuggets last season, the Clippers may want to give a little bit more of an effort in this game, which would mean some minutes for Leonard and George. But what the Clippers likely would like to see more of are their rookies in Daniel Oturu and Jay Scrubb in action.
Oturu gives the Clippers size that helps compensate for the loss of Harrell and JaMychal Green, while Scubb is insurance for Leonard, George, and Batum. Although for this game, it would not be the most shocking thing to see Oturu and Scrubb see more playing time than the vets. Luke Kennard is another fresh face on the Clippers’ roster, and he’s hoping that a new atmosphere in the pros could rejuvenate his career.
A walking bucket-getter at Duke, Kennard provides the Clippers firepower from deep. Kennard has shot 40.2 percent from deep in his first three seasons in the NBA, all with the Detroit Pistons.
The Lakers will be more experimental with their lineups, as they have more new players to acclimate to their team. That means less chemistry on the floor than the Clippers, who might also be more invested in winning this game, considering how bad the last season went for them. The Clippers win this game, 105-100.