Wednesday night both L.A. basketball teams are scheduled to compete. The Los Angeles Lakers host the Golden State Warriors at 7 p.m. PST and the Los Angeles Clippers are set to play the Houston Rockets on the road at 4:30 p.m. PST.
In an ESPN ad promoting the two games, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is dubbed as the “New King of L.A.” over Lakers’ LeBron James.
In July of 2018, Los Angeles welcomed King James when he signed as a free agent with the Lakers. Then, in July of this year, the city received even more exciting news: reigning NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard signed a three-year contract with the Clippers. Now, two of the best players in the NBA both play for Los Angeles teams. So, which one wears the crown?
Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Fans have yet to see the Pacific Division rivals square off during the 2019-20 regular season. On Wednesday night, the Lakers will host the Warriors at Staples Center. During the preseason, the Lakers defeated the Warriors three out of four times. This was when the Warriors had their superstar, Steph Curry, as well. But in this matchup, Curry will be sidelined due to a broken left wrist.
The matchup tomorrow will be LeBron James and Anthony Davis vs. Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell. The Warriors duo could pose a strong offensive threat. Russell has been thriving off his midrange game and is currently averaging 26.3 points, 6.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds. Though, the Lakers have a 98.1 defensive rating which is the best in the NBA, according to Mercury News. Tomorrow night’s matchup may be tough, but if the Lakers were able to knock off the Warriors three times in preseason with Curry on the floor, one can assume they’ll be able to pull off a victory at home.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets
The first matchup of the ESPN doubleheader features the Clippers against the Houston Rockets. As Andrew Grief of the L.A. Times revealed, Leonard was not listed on the team’s injury report. Among those names who are listed is Landry Shamet, who injured his ankle in the previous game against the Raptors, and Paul George, who remains questionable.
Both teams hold 7-3 records which should create a fun matchup. It’s an interesting spot, as a few current Clippers previously played for the Rockets. This includes the likes of Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Patterson. Houston’s Austin Rivers was also a former Clipper.
Another interesting aspect of this game is that George may suit up for his first game this season. Though it is more likely that George will wait to play until Thursday night’s matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, the possibility is still on the table. If both Leonard and George take the court tomorrow, the Clippers will likely be decent favorites to get the win.
While the Clippers had a previous stretch from 1998 through the 2010-11 season where they made the playoffs just once, they’ve now done so in seven of the past eight years. With the team now boasting a new dynamic duo in Leonard and George, along with a strong bench featuring Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, they pose a serious threat to the rest of the league.
The Lakers also look like legitimate title contenders. With players like King James and Anthony Davis, they’re set up for immediate success. As of now, they are one of the best teams in the league, boasting an 8-2 record. But the Clippers handed the Lakers one of those losses. When Leonard and James squared off on opening night, the Clippers picked up the win. With two star players in one city, it’s clear why Los Angeles is conflicted.