The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers originally were supposed to have a matchup on January 28th, but due to the untimely death of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash, both teams decided it would be better to postpone the game. The game has been in limbo for the last few weeks, but the NBA has finally decided on a date. The two rivals are set to clash on April 9th.
In corresponding moves, the April game with the Golden State Warriors moved back to April 7th and the game versus the Chicago Bulls was moved forward to April 8th. April 9th is not the only Lakers-Clippers game left on the schedule. The two also play on March 8th.
The Lakers Have yet to Beat Clippers This Season
When Kawhi Leonard decided to pass up on the Lakers to join the Clippers, the NBA’s most exciting new rivalry was born. Both Los Angeles teams are lead by dynamic duos and are probably the two best teams in the Western Conference. The Lakers are on a mission and are desperate to get back to the NBA Finals, but they’ve lost both matchups to the Clippers this season.
If the Lakers think they’re desperate to get back to the Finals, imagine how the Clippers feel. They’ve never won a title and they finally have a real shot of getting one. They are tired of playing second-fiddle in Los Angeles and winning a championship would do a lot for their brand. The Clippers are up two games on the Lakers so far, but the latter can even up the series if they win the last two matchups.
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Lakers Still Control the Western Conference
Despite a quiet trade deadline and being relatively inactive on the buyout market, the Lakers remain as the top seed in the Western Conference. The Clippers and Houston Rockets made a bunch of moves to try and beef up their rosters while all the Lakers have done is add Markieff Morris. However, Bill Oram of The Athletic doesn’t believe the Lakers are too concerned:
“The concern is less that the Clippers and Rockets have found people to add to their rosters than it is that the Lakers haven’t been able to find pieces that fit their group. With apologies to Jackson and Carroll, the Clippers and Rockets haven’t done anything since the trade deadline that strike fear in the Lakers.”
The Western Conference has a good shot of running through the Lakers this season. They have a five-game lead on the Denver Nuggets and a 5.5 game lead over the Clippers. Brett Dawson of The Athletic doesn’t believe that the Lakers are about to give up that lead.
“The Lakers are 26-2 against teams with sub-.500 records and have lost consecutive games twice all season: a four-game losing streak in December and two straight losses in January, the second of those coming six days after the first, and in the Lakers’ emotional first game since Kobe Bryant’s death on Jan. 26. There’s no reason to think that will change.”
The Lakers currently hold the keys to getting the top seed in the Western Conference and it will take a pretty big slump for them to give it up.
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