LeBron Aggravates Injury In Second Loss To Clippers
NBA Talent On Display On Christmas Day
The NBA’s premier talent is always on display on Christmas Day, and you had to look no further than a matchup between the two Los Angeles teams for evidence. It was a great day for fans of the NBA, unless you root for the Lakers.
The Lakers entered the contest with a chance to even up the season series with their Staples Center roommates while further cementing their lead in the Western Conference.
Instead, the team in purple and gold fell to the Clippers for the second time this year while LeBron James aggravated a groin injury.
With James now set to miss time, the Clippers will have a better chance to catch the Lakers in the fight for the Western Conference’s top seed.
Clippers Top Lakers
After taking a healthy lead into the locker room at halftime, the Lakers were all tied up with the Clippers entering the fourth quarter. Kawhi Leonard and company trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but they put together rally after rally.
Leonard would make four free throws down the stretch that set up the Lakers with a chance to tie with only seconds remaining.
As James went up for a three, Patrick Beverly knocked the ball loose – a ball that James touched last before it went out of bounds.
Pivotal Moment Of The Game
That strip turned out to be the pivotal moment of the game, as Paul George then hit a pair of free throws to make the final margin as the Clippers won 111-106.
Leonard finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists in the game. Eleven of his 35 points came in the fourth quarter to help the Clippers get back into the contest.
For the Lakers, Kyle Kuzma led the way with 25 points. Anthony Davis added another 24 points, and James finished with 23 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.
James Hurt As Clippers Assert Dominance
By allowing their rival to come back from 15 points down in the second half to win, the Lakers are now in jeopardy of giving the Clippers a huge mental advantage that could make the difference come playoff time.
The Clippers are now 2-0 against the Lakers this season, as the duo of James and Davis is yet to get by Leonard this season.
Meanwhile, James is likely to miss time after aggravating a groin injury when a collision between he and Patrick Beverley occurred as James tried to take a charge. According to James, Beverley’s knee made contact and caused the injury to “flare up.”
The Lakers Are On A Four-Game Losing Streak
That’s clearly bad news for a Lakers team that’s riding a four-game losing streak. At 24-7, the Lakers still lead the conference, but that’s the only thing they can draw confidence from after losing both games to the Clippers.
With James now likely to miss games, the 23-10 Clippers have a chance to take the Lakers’ lead in the Western Conference away as well.
Lakers And Clippers Tied As Favorites
For now, both the Lakers and Clippers are tied as the favorites to win the Western Conference with odds of +190 and tied with the second-best odds to win the NBA Finals at +320. However, the Clippers are now dangerously close to proving their dominance in the city of Los Angeles.
The two L.A. clubs will meet twice more this year. A Jan. 28 contest will be followed by the final matchup between the two in the regular season on March 8.
If the Lakers can take both games and even up the season series, LeBron and company will level the playing field entering the playoffs.
If the Clippers dominate the season series with another pair of wins, Kawhi and company will enter the playoffs with a huge mental advantage over their rivals.
Even if the odds don’t reflect it, the Clippers will feel that they know exactly how to beat the Lakers.