Lakers vs Clippers, day one. The Lakers, led by all-time great LeBron James, are the overwhelming favorites to repeat as champs this year. The Clippers, for their part, still look to rely heavily on their superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this season.
Lakers vs Clippers
It is the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Second Round of the NBA playoffs. The Lakers are the heavy favorites to win this series, but they face a very formidable opponent in the California native Clippers. The teams have been playing good basketball lately, but how will this match up in person? The first game will be Tuesday night in Los Angeles, and there are a few key points to focus on. Here are three keys to the Lakers’ victory over the Clips.
The Lakers’ biggest problem has been that they lack a number one scoring option, which has been a big part of their success the last couple years. Chris Paul has moved on to greener pastures, but this does not mean that the Los Angeles Lakers needs to trade him. The team has enough quality players that they should be able to compete with any team in the league. They just need to find someone who can consistently produce during the regular season and in the playoffs.
If the Los Angeles Lakers wants to repeat as the team to beat in the west, they need to take care of the fact that they are the only team in the NBA’s modern era to never miss the playoffs. That qualifies them as a rivalry, even if it hasn’t been a favorite in the past. The Clippers, on the other hand, have made it to seven straight playoff series, but have also been eliminated by the eventual champions in the East, the Miami Heat. That type of history makes the Lakers’ challenge that much more interesting to pursue. The Clips have been known to play championship contenders, but they have not proven that they are championship contenders yet. There are too many factors for the Lakers to take lightly, particularly when it comes to the state of the team right now.
Are the Clippers better?
If the Staples Center is no longer the playground for the NBA’s biggest and most exciting teams, then why are so many people saying the Lakers will be the team to beat in this year’s playoffs? Well, consider how the season has been for the Lakers. They have lost four of their last five road games, have been outscored by the greater Eastern Conference twice (Detroit and Toronto), and have played the same number of games against the same teams in the top three conferences as the defending champion Miami Heat. These are major problems, and it’s difficult to see them overcome all of the weaknesses that they have. And therein lies the rub, because while the Lakers look like a basketball team, they lack the toughness that is needed to win the championship.