The NBA makes its triumphant return this Thursday, July 30th. 22 teams will participate in the continuation of the 2019-2020 season being played in the NBA’s “bubble” in Orlando, Florida. There will be a quick 8 game stretch of seeding games which will play out as the end of the regular season, with the playoffs beginning August 17th.
TNT kicks things off with a doubleheader of NBA action on Thursday, headlined by the best two teams in the Western Conference squaring off, the Los Angeles Clippers vs the Los Angeles Lakers. Right back into the action we go. Tip-off is set for 8:00 ET.
Worth The Wait
The NBA certainly wasted no time in giving fans a dynamic matchup. Of course, the seeding games were all selected directly off of each team's schedule. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers will quickly find out if they’ve lost any steps during the COVID break.
Leonard is averaging 27 points per game so far this season, to go along with 7.3 rebounds, 5 assists, and nearly two steals. Running mate Paul George is putting up 21 points and 1.3 steals per game. The Clippers are 2-1 against the Lakers this season, and the last time the two teams met, Leonard and George combined for 58 points in a 112-103 loss.
Lakers’ Missing Piece
Can Lebron James help bring a title to one of the most decorated franchises in sports history? The question every Lakers fan is certain they know the answer to. Yes. Lebron brings his partner in crime, Anthony Davis. James and Davis also combined for 58 points in their last meeting with the Clippers, a 112-103 win.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, when they last met, Avery Bradley provided 24 points and was a team leading +13. Bradley has opted not to play due to COVID concerns. The Lakers will look to newcomers J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters to replace some of Bradley’s production, at least offensively.
Odds of Winning
The Lakers come into the game as a -4.5 point favorite at BetOnline. No surprise considering it’s the first game back and the Lakers have a 5.5 game lead over the Clippers in the west. They come in only one win shy of 50. The over/under is set at 216.5.
Look for this game to be a competitive, semi-sloppy first game back. That type of game favors the Clippers with George and Leonard’s style of deflect, steal, and transition. Look for a low scoring, sloppy game, that the Clippers take command of. Take the Clippers +4.5, and the under.