Lakers vs. Clippers preview

The Lakers could help their prospects of landing a second-round draft pick with a win over the Clippers

The Lakers (20-55) can play spoiler Sunday night at Staples Center, hosting the playoff-bound Clippers (51-26).

A win would actually help the Lakers, as the Clippers sent their 2015 second-round pick to the Toronto Raptors for Hassan Adams. The Raptors in turn shipped it to the Houston Rockets for David Andersen, and the Rockets dealt it with Jeremy Lin to the Lakers this past summer.

Adams and Andersen are no longer in the NBA, but the Lakers will get the Clippers' pick, though only if it's in the 51-55 range.

The Clippers are right on the cusp, at 56.  A loss or two, perhaps at the hand of the Lakers, might drop the pick into that sweet spot.

The difficult part for the Lakers is actually getting a win over a much better Clippers squad.

Wayne Ellington (shoulder), Nick Young (knee) Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Julius Randle (knee) are all expected out for the season.

Jamal Crawford (calf) is doubtful for the Clippers.

Key matchup

Guard Jordan Clarkson has emerged as one of the top rookies of his class, starting at the point for the Lakers.

Through 32 games since his promotion, Clarkson has averaged 15.3 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds a game, with 2.1 turnovers while shooting 46.6% from the field.

He'll have a major challenge on Sunday against Chris Paul.

Paul, arguably the top point guard in the league, is at 19.3 points, 10.2 assists and 1.9 steals a game this year.


The Clippers rely heavily on big men Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

Griffin is a potent scorer, and a willing passer. Jordan is a prolific rebounder and shot-blocker.  Guard J.J. Redick has shot extremely well for the team this season.

After Clarkson, the Lakers' scoring comes from a variety of places, including Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly, Jabari Brown, Carlos Boozer and Wesley Johnson -- although none are necessarily consistent options of late.


The Clippers should be too much for the Lakers to handle on Sunday.

Email Eric Pincus at Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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