After 4 months of absence, the NBA is finally back! Games are now being played on the Disney World Campus in Florida, aka “The Bubble”. Players and staffs live under a strict lifestyle within the Bubble under the health guidelines that helps protect them from COVID-19. But not all 30 NBA teams were allowed to come and resume to season. Only the top teams of each conference that are in the playoff running were allowed back to resume the season. Teams are going to play 3 scrimmage games before the season resumes and finish off with 8 games. Games resumed on July 30, with the first game being the Utah Jazz versus the New Orleans Pelicans and the second game being the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lakers’ Scrimmage Games
With the loss of key players, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, I expected the Lakers to try and figure out a new lineup and rotation before the season restarts. But the Lakers instead took the scrimmages as an opportunity for their players to get back into the groove and back in the rhythm of playing. The Lakers lost their first scrimmage game against the Mavericks. Every player on the roster got about the same amount of playing time, so this game was clearly just to get every player to shake off the rust. They won their second scrimmage game against the Magic and was led by Kyle Kuzma’s 25 points off the bench Their last scrimmage game was led by their newest player, J.R Smith, with 20 points while Lebron and Davis sitting out this game. Going 2-1 in their scrimmage games while their bench seeing majority of play time, the Lakers are looking good and ready to play.
Lakers’ First Game Against Clippers
Before the game start, it is key to note that the Clippers were missing two of their key players in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. Both players provide almost 19 points per game off the bench for the Clippers. So, the Clippers were already at an offensive disadvantage despite having their star players, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Both teams sits atop of the Western Conference with the Lakers sitting on 1st seed and the Clippers not too far behind in 2nd seed. As expected, this game came down to the wire.
The Lakers took a commanding lead in the 1st quarter with Anthony Davis leading the Lakers. The Clippers struggled to contain Davis in the post, resulting in a lot of free throws for him. The Lakers took advantage of this and continually gave the ball to him throughout the game. But the Clippers managed to close the gap in both the 2nd and 3rd quarter which was led by George and Leonard. Paul George helped the Clippers spread the floor with his 3-point shooting while Kawhi Leonard consistently hit his signature mid range shots and attacking the basket. Lebron James struggled throughout the 1st all the way to the 3rd quarter. He looked passive on the offensive end and allowing Anthony Davis, who had the hot hand, go to work.
The 4th Quarter
The 4th quarter of the game could be a great simulation of what could be this year’s Western Conference Finals. The game was held close throughout the quarter with both teams firing on all cylinders. Lebron James even switched out his shoes to change up his mind set. The key moments came at the last few minutes of the game where the Lakers played stellar defense against the Clippers. Lebron puts up the clamps on Kawhi Leonard while he hit a layup to put the Lakers up by 2. The Clippers went to Paul George for the last shot, who hit a clutch 3 to tie the game, but luckily missed.
Who Will Come Out the West?
The Lakers or the Clippers are expected to come out of the west to play in the finals this year, but it’s too early to call which one would come out on top. This game puts them even at 2-2 for the season. But it is important to note that the Lakers has lost two players, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, and signed Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith to fill in. The Clippers recently signed Reggie Jackson and Joakim Noah. Both teams are the league’s top offensive and defensive teams. The Lakers has this year’s MVP candidate, Lebron James, and defensive player of the year candidate, Anthony Davis. The Clippers has last year’s Final’s MVP, Kawhi Leonard, and a two-way star in Paul George. With the Lakers starting off the NBA restart with 1-0, I got the Lakers coming out of the west!!!
We appreciate y’all for letting us be a part of your Break Time.
Signing off, JT