Things You Already Know:
The Clippers have one of the NBA’s worst records at just 18-33, that is fourth to last in the Western Conference standings. In their defense, they have been without injured forward and franchise player Elton Brand all season due to injury, leaving a shell of the team that came within one game of reaching the Western Conference Finals two years ago.
The inner-city rivals split their two matchups last season, with each team taking a game on each other’s “home court.” In their last meeting, a 118-110 Clippers’ victory on the Lakers’ court, Kobe went off for 50 points, but only two other teammates reached double figures in scoring.
Things You Might Not Know:
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times earlier this week, the aforementioned Brand participated in non-contact drills this week and reiterated his plans to return to the court this season even if it would be too little, too late for the Clippers’ playoff hopes.
Although he has been the subject of much trade speculation for seemingly his entire tenure with the Clippers, forward Corey Maggette is having one of his better statistical seasons, averaging a team-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds. Rookie Al Thornton has also had a solid freshmen campaign, scoring almost 11 points per contest.
Center Chris Kaman is very quietly having a monster year for the Clips, pulling down over 13 rebounds and 16 points per game. While he may not strike fear into opposing teams, he is as efficient as any true center in the West and should not be taken lightly.
Things You Need To Know:
Whie the Clippers have used the absence of Brand as an excuse for their futility all season long, it’s hard to argue that their roster has less talent than a team like the Sacramento Kings who are ahead of them in standings. Even without their star forward and the injuries that have affected some of the team’s veterans like Sam Cassell, L.A.’s other team has still underachieved this season.
The Lakers will have had three days off when the teams take the STAPLES Center court, with L.A. coming off an emotional victory over Pacific Division rival Phoenix. Meanwhile, the Clippers will be playing on back-to-back nights after defeating Utah at home on Friday night. Considering the already depleted state of the Clippers’ roster and the Lakers’ hot streak, this reprisal of the L.A. rivalry should be fairly anticlimactic.