The NBA is officially back on Thursday night, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers renown their cross the hall rivalry with each other. In a possible Western Conference Finals matchup as both teams are at the top of the Western Conference Standings.
The Lakers have a five and a half-game lead on the Clippers for the top spot in the West, but the Clippers have a 2-1 series lead this season against the Lakers. So, this is a game the Los Angeles Lakers need to win, according to Heavy’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.’
Earlier this week, Robinson shared with me by phone, “this is a must-win for the LeBron [James] and the Lakers. The Clippers have had their number, thus far this season and this is the perfect time for the Lakers take advantage of an undermanned Clippers team”
On Thursday’s episode of “The Jump,” Rachael Nichols asked Tracy McGrady who was under more pressure to win between the Lakers and Clippers?
“I look at the Lakers and how their roster is constructed, I mean you have a guy in his 17th year, who is arguably the best player in our game in LeBron James. Time is not on his side, he has to get it done this year and this is tailor-made for him to get it done,” said McGrady. “I think Anthony Davis is the best teammate that LeBron has ever played with, I don’t think you have another duo that is First-Team All-NBA with the two of them.”
“And let’s not forget the motivation they had before the pandemic and how 2020 started, and us losing our brother Kobe Bryant, who is forever great Laker with five championships. That’s what he wanted for LeBron James and this Lakers team. so, that is their extra added motivation. LeBron and those guys have picked it up and found their niche before the pandemic playing great basketball, and I just think with them having four-month off, LeBron in the past ten years hadn’t had the opportunity to go through a season and take a break. For the journey that he goes on. This guy is always playing in June. With that being said it is tailor-made for the Lakers to get this done.”
ESPN’s Jalen Rose agrees “When you are facing a team in your conference, that plays in your city, that plays in your building, and you have four of the top 15 players on the court at the same time it is always going to matter. There is going to be posturing happening the entire time. You are going to see the Clippers running one or two sets to see if they work and may never run them again,” said Rose.
“You are going to see the Lakers run certain pick and roll combination to see if they work and may or may not run them again. The same with certain lineups, so even those the Clippers are short-handed there is always something to be gained in this game called chess.”
Lakers and Clippers play at 9 pm EST on Thursday night on TNT.