Takeaways from the Lakers-Clippers matchup

NBA_acc Wizards3:23 pm Fri Jul 31 EDT Deleted

Arguably the most hyped matchup all season long. Thought Id share what I saw last night, in the four matchups overall, and what it might mean for playoffs. --- #Both teams were sloppy, but in slightly different ways * **The Clippers had a big turnover problem last night.** The team had 20 turnovers on only 17 assists. Its clear that their team cohesion needs some time to come back. * **The Lakers didnt shoot well.** They shot 31% from three last night despite some good looks to Green, Caruso, and Waiters. Theyve shot 46/149 across all four matchups. They also had a slight turnover problem though not as bad as the Clippers. 20 assists on 14 turnovers. --- #The good for the Clippers: * **Paul George is looking healthy and bubble ready.** Clean stroke and smooth game overall last night. Once he gets used to playing with his team again and cuts down on turnovers, hell be a lethal offensive threat in the playoffs. * **Kawhi Leonard: Scoring Machine**. Across the year against the Lakers, Kawhi has averaged 30 PPG on blistering 67% TS. He has yet to have a bad scoring performance vs the Lebron-AD Lakers. He still dropped an efficient 28 yesterday despite not having his legs back yet. * **Close game despite the missing pieces**. Im not gonna make excuses about Lou since hes in quarantine on account of his own dumb actions. But no Trez and minutes restricted Bev really hurt the team. I think Bev being out of the bubble lately contributed to the Clippers overall lack of cohesion yesterday. This is in comparison to the Lakers who were only missing Caruso on opening night but otherwise had all their pieces for each game. Additionally, the last Lakers win was largely due to Avery Bradley getting hot, and hes missing from the bubble now. * **The Lakers have never shot well vs the Clippers.** As stated above, theyre 46/149 from three on the year vs the Clippers. Not sure if its due to bad luck or good Clippers perimeter defense. * **Lebron hasnt been good at scoring vs the Clippers**. Hes put up 21.25 points on 47.5% TS across the four matchups. Yesterday was 16 points on 40% TS. Im not sure Lebron can bring the scoring he did two years ago. He needs to hope refs give him more calls in the playoffs. His only good scoring performance had him going 12/14 from the line. --- #The good for the Lakers: * **We have yet to see the Lebron-AD Pick and Roll fully unleashed.** They form one of the deadliest PnR combos ever. It seems theyre saving it mainly for playoffs. It might end up just tearing through the league when they start spamming it. * **Lebron looking spry - that defense tho!** Lebrons jumper might not be falling and he might not be getting the calls he deserves. But he is certainly looking well-rested. Im sure everyones already seen his defensive stops on Kawhi to end both halves. And that game winner only happened because of Lebrons quickness. * **Anthony Davis: cant stop him, gotta foul him.** Hes averaged 11.75 free throws per matchup vs the Clippers. And he shoots them at an ~85% rate. He got everyone in foul trouble last night. Because no one on the Lakers can stop Kawhi, it might be up to AD to match his scoring production off of feeds from Bron. * **Kuzma: not ass on defense**. He did surprisingly well when guarding the Clippers wing superstars on an island. Everyone should accept that his scoring will always be inconsistent. If you think hes gonna keep shooting 4/7 from three then I have a bridge to sell you. But if he can keep up his defense, he can make positive impact on the floor regardless of how hot hes shooting. * **Survived Kawhi and PG shooting 9/15 from three.** The Clippers shot 44% from three yesterday due to the two superstars. Even though the Lakers shot 31%, they still eked out a win. --- #Overall Prediction If they meet in playoffs. All four games this year between the two LA powerhouses have been a pleasure to watch and I really want to see a playoff series between the two. Based on how the regular season games went, Id say Clippers in 6. Even though they split the series, in my opinion the Lakers won theirs less convincingly. They dont win game 3 without Avery Bradley and hes opted out. They went down to the last possession while the Clips were missing Lou Will, Trez, and half of Pat Bev. Kawhi has been the best player on the floor across the series. But I cant help but feel like Old Man Bron has some tricks up his sleeve. Like I said, that AD pick and roll is going to be lethal. The third matchup was the only one where Bron scored well, and thats because he relentlessly hunted the mismatch on Lou Williams. Theres no reason to think he wont do that in playoffs. Maybe he doesnt put up 34 PPG like he did in 2018 but I think he does better than an inefficient 21. So overall, I think Lebron steps up a lot more compared to how he played in the regular season, and Id guess **Lakers in 7.**