In the first Battle of LA, Nick Ballistreri gives his preview on what could be a WCF preview on Opening Night.
Game: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers
Date & Time: Tuesday October 22nd, 2019, 10:40 (EST)
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Line: Los Angeles Lakers -3, O/U: 225.5
TV Channel: TNT
Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers Preview
And we’re back baby. After a long 4 months, the NBA is back, and with a wild offseason behind us, excitement is through the roof. In the first game at the Staples Center, we’ve been blessed by the schedule gods with a doozy: Lakers vs Clippers.
Both Los Angeles teams can say with confidence that they are officially back. After the Lakers made waves last offseason with the signing of LeBron James, an injury filled season followed in which the Lakers missed the playoffs for the 6th consecutive year. In the land of Showtime, that simply won’t get it done.
The management of the Lakers agreed, and decided to go all-in with a move for Anthony Davis. Davis was not cheap, as he cost the Lakers young players Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, as well as hefty draft capital. However, when you have an aging LeBron James, you must do whatever you can to pair him with a star. Enter Anthony Davis, who is the definition of a star.
The Clippers are coming off a year in which they overachieved, winning 48 games and finishing in the 8th slot out West. In the playoffs, they showed us something even better, as they took the Warriors at full strength to 6 games. It was an impressive showing that proved that the Clippers were an up and coming powerhouse.
Then, it got even better. The Clippers were arguably the big winners of the offseason, as they not only signed Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard away from the Raptors, they also swung a trade in which they landed Paul George. Now, the cost for George was high, I’m talking a record-breaking number of draft picks. But again, just like in the Lakers case, the league is wide-open right now, and they went all in.
So now, Adam Silver and the NBA got what they wanted: both LA teams are relevant, and NBA Finals contenders. As fans, we get what we wanted with both of these teams squaring off on opening night.
Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers Pick
The Lakers are 3 point favorites in this one, as both teams are dealing with some injuries. Kyle Kuzma, one of the Lakers bright young players, is out for this one. On the Clippers side of things, newly acquired Paul George will miss at least the first 10 games of the season, leaving it up to Kawhi Leonard to keep the team afloat early.
Call me a bandwagoner, but I’m all aboard the Lakers this season. After their offseason moves, I thought they had a really solid squad. Then I saw them play in the preseason, and I’m even more impressed. Around LeBron and Davis are a group of role players that rival the best in the league. They are deep at every position, and LeBron looks fresher than ever after missing the playoffs.
The Clippers will be amazing this year. However, with the loss of George for this one, and the combination of the Lakers trying to prove that they are officially back, I’m taking the Lakers to win this opening night matchup. Give me the Lakers at -3, in a road game that is being played in their own house.