The big battle of Los Angeles is finally upon us once again. Tomorrow, on Christmas night the Los Angeles Clippers are scheduled to play against the Los Angeles Lakers. The season opened up with both L.A. teams battling it out and the Clippers ultimately edged over the Lakers, 112-102. The Lakers currently boast a 24-6 record and sit atop the Western Conference, while the Clippers post a 22-10 record and place fourth in the West.
Ahead of tomorrow’s Christmas day battle, the Clippers released their injury report and according to Farbod Esnaashari of Forbes, no player is listed on the report. That means for the first time all season, the Clips will have a full healthy roster available to take the court.
Lakers’ Injury Report
The Los Angeles Lakers were missing one of their key players in Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets as LeBron James was out with a thoracic muscle strain and a groin injury. Without James, the Nuggets came up on top, 128-104. Unfortunately, the Lakers have now lost their last three consecutive games. For tonight, the King is listed as questionable, per Lakers Reporter Bill Oram.
The Lakers’ other superstar, Anthony Davis is also listed as questionable as he is dealing with a sore knee. Davis did participate in the team’s game against the Nuggets and tallied 32 points, one assist and 11 rebounds.
Though LeBron is listed as questionable, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that a source close to James said that “he expects LeBron to suit up against the Clippers.” According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, the team hosted a practice this morning and both LeBron and AD are on track to play in the Christmas Day showdown.
Players’ Comments on Tomorrow’s Game
The media has been hyping up tomorrow’s battle of L.A. to the absolute max. The players feel quite the opposite though, as both teams have made comments that downplay tomorrow’s marquee matchup.
“It’s two fierce teams, for sure. It’s two competitive teams. Two competitive coaching staffs. So, you can expect a lot of competition. And may the best team that night win. You don’t know how the ball is going to go in, you don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of who is going to play well and things of that nature, but both teams want to win,” James told reporters per ESPN. “But it’s not the end of a season. It doesn’t mark what the team is going to be for the remainder of the season on a Christmas Day game.”
Dwight Howard also made comments that insinuated that the game wasn’t that big of a deal.
“The championship is won in June — it’s not won on Christmas,” Dwight Howard said. “This is not an ego test for us. We’re not trying to see who’s better right now. We want to make sure come playoff time that we’re the best team going into the playoffs and at the end of the playoffs that we’re the best team in the world. That’s the goal. That should be our mindset.”
Kawhi Leonard also echoed the comments of both James and Howard.
“It’s just another added win added to our resume. It doesn’t really mean too much of anything. It’s a good look at a good team, and that’s pretty much it,” Leonard said in a post-practice interview posted by Mark Medina of USA Today.
Whether tomorrow’s game means a lot or it means nothing at all, fans still have high expectations to see all of L.A.’s superstars play against each other. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. PST.