Preview: Lakers at Clippers

Clippers host Lakers for final matchup between the teams this season

The Lakers (20-56) will try to give a better performance Tuesday, visiting the Clippers (52-26) at Staples Center.

On Sunday, the Clippers dominated the Lakers in a 106-78 win. The Clippers hope to get Jamal Crawford back from a calf injury Tuesday.  The veteran guard hasn't played since March 2.

The Lakers will play without Wayne Ellington (shoulder), Nick Young (knee),  Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Julius Randle (knee), all out for the season.

Key matchup

Chris Paul scored only seven points but he completely controlled the game  with his playmaking (15 assists) and defense against Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson.

Clarkson struggled against Paul's pressure, but the Clippers also blitzed him, sending players such as DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin on doubles when the Lakers would try to set a screen for their rookie guard.

In 26 minutes, Clarkson scored just two points with three assists and two turnovers.

The Clippers will presumably attack Clarkson on Tuesday.  After looking at the film, perhaps Clarkson and the Lakers are able to handle the Clippers' defensive attack more comfortably.

X-factor

If the Clippers are doubling Clarkson and he quickly gives up the ball, his teammates need to take advantage.

Wesley Johnson led the Lakers with 16 points.  Tarik Black and Jabari Brown both added 10.

Clarkson simply needs more help, in addition to keeping his composure against a difficult opponent.

Paul has so many weapons besides his shot. Jordan is a lob threat. Griffin is extremely versatile as a scorer and secondary playmaker.  J.J. Redick is having one of his best seasons.

Outlook

The Lakers just don't match up well with the playoff-bound Clippers.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus

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