The next chapter of the battle of Los Angeles will be scripted on Sunday afternoon with the LA Lakers taking on the LA Clippers. This will be the second meeting between the two sides this season after the season-opening matchup where the Clippers reigned supreme.
The LA Lakers have unsurprisingly found it tough to keep up with the other powerhouses in the West following LeBron James' injury. The Purple and Gold have only won three games since LeBron hobbled off with a high ankle sprain nearly two weeks ago, but all these wins have come in the last four matchups.
Dennis Schroder has taken up the mantle during LeBron's absence, averaging 18.9 points, 7.1 assists and 2.3 steals in seven games.
The LA Clippers have had a couple of hiccups lately as well. They won six straight games before conceding a shocking loss to the Orlando Magic. They failed to overcome the surging Denver Nuggets in the following game.
Kawhi Leonard has been the go-to man for Tyronn Lue with several players on the sidelines in March. Leonard averaged 23.8 points, 4.7 assists, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game in the previous month.
LA Lakers vs LA Clippers Injury Report
Andre Drummond lost a toenail on his debut for the LA Lakers and missed the subsequent game against the Sacramento Kings. While Drummond won't be absent for much longer, he's likely to be sidelined against the LA Clippers as well.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis continue to be long-term absentees for the LA Lakers. Wes Matthews managed to play only five minutes against Sacramento before leaving the game with a neck strain. He'll be missing in action on Sunday.
The LA Clippers continue to be without two starters in Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley who have missed 10 and 11 games respectively. Both of them will be unavailable against the LA Lakers as well.
Paul George's toe injury continues to linger but he returned to the lineup against Denver Nuggets and should suit up again on Saturday. Rajon Rondo has been missing games due to a groin injury, but he's in line to make his LA Clippers debut against his former team.
LA Lakers vs LA Clippers Predicted Lineups
Dennis Schroder is the lead ball-handler for the LA Lakers and will be running the show again. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has struggled lately, but coach Frank Vogel has persisted with him in the starting lineup. Kyle Kuzma had 30 points last night and will be occupying one of the wing spots again.
Markieff Morris has been in good touch as well lately. Starting at power forward, he's averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the last four games. Marc Gasol will be the starting center again in Andre Drummond's absence.
Even though Rajon Rondo will be making his debut, it's unlikely that he'll be getting the nod ahead of Reggie Jackson in the starting lineup. Paul George will slot alongside Jackson to round out the backcourt. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard will be pulling the strings from the three.
Marcus Morris had a tough outing against the Denver Nuggets but his two-way ability makes him the perfect fit for the power forward role. Ivica Zubac has thrived in Serge Ibaka's absence and he'll start at center again.
LA Lakers vs LA Clippers Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Dennis Schroder | Shooting Guard - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | Small Forward - Kyle Kuzma | Power Forward - Markieff Morris | Center - Marc Gasol
Point Guard - Reggie Jackson | Shooting Guard - Paul George | Small Forward - Kawhi Leonard | Power Forward - Marcus Morris Sr. | Center - Ivica Zubac