Lakers still without LeBron, take on rival Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers will not have their new-look lineup once they take on Los Angeles Clippers for the primary time this season.

LeBron James is predicted to overlook his second straight recreation when the Lakers host the Clippers on Friday evening at Staples Center. James sustained a groin damage late in a 127-101 victory towards the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday evening.

James, who signed with the Lakers within the offseason after 4 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, performed all 82 regular-season video games and all 22 playoff video games final season. He hasn’t missed back-to-back video games for the reason that ultimate two of the 2016-17 common season.

Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball every surpassed his season scoring averages within the first recreation without James on Thursday evening, however the Lakers (20-15) could not shield a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead and misplaced 117-116 to the host Sacramento Kings on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

The Lakers are additionally anticipated to be without their different high-profile offseason acquisition, backup level guard Rajon Rondo, who injured his proper ring finger within the win towards Golden State. Rondo was in his third recreation again after lacking the earlier 17 with a fractured hand.

The Lakers have misplaced 21 of the previous 24 video games towards the Clippers.

The Clippers (20-14) have scored a minimum of 125 factors in every of their previous 5 video games to maneuver to No. 3 within the NBA in scoring at 115.9 factors a recreation.

A key to their success has been the manufacturing from their bench. The Clippers lead the NBA in bench scoring at 51.8 factors a recreation, and the reserves put up 57 in a 127-118 win towards the visiting Kings on Wednesday.

Lou Williams is third on the staff in scoring (17.6) and Montrezl Harrell is fourth (15.5), making the Clippers the one staff with two gamers averaging a minimum of 15 factors off the bench this season.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been particularly impressed by Harrell, an undersized energy ahead and a 2015 second-round choose of the Houston Rockets. He and Williams had been among the many gamers traded to the Clippers 18 months in the past in trade for Chris Paul.

Rivers referred to as Harrell “relentless.”

“His energy and his toughness, he knows his niche with each group,” Rivers mentioned. “When he plays with the second group, he knows exactly how to play with those guys. He has kind of figured it out; it is nice.”

Patrick Beverley additionally got here to the Clippers within the Paul commerce, and he hounded Ball in his rookie debut final season. Ball was unable to complete the sport in Sacramento on Thursday evening due to leg cramps.

That may make Ball much more weak towards Beverley, who has been contributing way more than simply getting within the head of the opposition this season, Rivers mentioned.

“Beverley should get more credit. He has been doing a lot of little things,” Rivers mentioned. “When he goes on the floor there is a plus, with his defensive energy, and he is an instigator. He just does a lot of little winning things that are not on the stats sheet, but he is doing a lot for our team in helping us win games.”

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