Date & Time: Thursday, 30th July 2020, 9:00 PM ET (Friday 6:30 AM IST)
Venue: The Arena (WWOS), Orlando, FL
The fourth and final installment of the Battle of LA, for the regular season that is, sees both these franchises enter the contest in contrasting situations. The LA Lakers are more or less guaranteed the first seed while the LA Clippers are sitting just 1.5 games ahead of third seed Denver Nuggets.
LA Lakers Preview
The LA Lakers have a mostly healthy squad at hand. Avery Bradley is sitting out the NBA restart while Rajon Rondo remains sidelined so we'll have to see who steps up as the secondary ball-handler for the side.
There are a lot of positive for the LA Lakers heading into this tie. The starters got a rest in the last scrimmage against Washinton but looked lively in the other two fixtures. Kyle Kuzma's shooting form seems to be great while Anthony Davis is likely to feature in this game following an eye issue that put him in doubt.
The LA Lakers are 5.5 games ahead of the LA Clippers at this point but currently trail the mini-series 1-2 against their cross-town rivals. So that might be all the motivation they need for leaving everything on the floor on Thursday night.
Key Player - LeBron James
The race for the MVP honors might be over but don't expect LeBron James to take his foot off the gas. LeBron had a decent 20-point, 7-assist outing in the scrimmage against the Orlando Magic but expect him to put double the shift against the LA Clippers. His eventual battle against Kawhi Leonard will determine the flow of the game.
Lakers Predicted Lineup
LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee
LA Clippers Preview
The LA Clippers will be missing several key players in this match-up. Lou Williams is currently undergoing a 10-day quarantine and will only be available from 4th August onwards.
Patrick Beverley also returned to the bubble only on Monday this week. Since four days seems to be the minimum quarantine length, he's likely to be amiss for the LA Clippers' season restart tie against the LA Lakers. Montrezl Harrell is still away from the NBA campus in Orlando.
While Paul George seems to be his usual self, the biggest story heading into the season restart is Kawhi Leonard's scrappy shooting. The Klaw only shot 6 of 27 from downtown during the three scrimmage games for the LA Clippers.
Key Player - Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard has averaged a career-high 26.9 points per game on 46.9% shooting this season. His numbers must look somewhat similar if the LA Clippers are to stand a chance against the LA Lakers. Doc Rivers will already be missing the scoring of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell so Kawhi needs to be in his elements.
Clippers Predicted Lineup
Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Clippers vs Lakers Match Prediction
All things point towards a clear win for the LA Lakers. They seem to be enjoying their basketball in Orlando and have a much stronger side on paper than the LA Clippers for the time being. Meanwhile, not only are the LA Clippers missing key players for the tie, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac have only recently joined the team in Orlando. Expect LeBron James and the LA Lakers to clinch this fixture.
Where to watch Clippers vs Lakers?
Local coverage of the match can be seen on FOX Sports Prime Ticket and Spectrum SportsNet. The same will be broadcast nationwide in the US on TNT. Fans in India can catch the game on Sony Six. You can also live stream the fixture via NBA League Pass.