The Los Angeles Clippers look to extend their winning streak to seven games Sunday afternoon when they host the Los Angeles Lakers in a matchup of the Western Conference’s top two teams.
The Clippers, who trail the Lakers by six games in the loss column, won the previous two meetings this season. They posted a 112-102 victory in the season opener on Oct. 22 and a 111-106 win on Christmas Day, when Kawhi Leonard collected 35 points and 12 rebounds.
With their full roster intact, the Clippers have recorded an average margin of victory of 17.0 points in their last six games. They are 10-0 when all their players are healthy.
Leonard scored 25 points as the Clippers cruised to a 120-105 win over the host Houston Rockets on Thursday. Montrezl Harrell had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and former Lakers center Ivica Zubac had a season-high 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“Zu was huge, especially in a game like this where literally no one on that roster could guard him,” said Clippers forward Paul George, who had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
“He had to be huge for us, and you know he stepped up to the plate and made himself available.”
George said the Clippers are pleased with their recent play but far from satisfied.
“It’s just this team is versatile and so competitive,” George said. “I think that’s the biggest thing you can take from this is how competitive we are. And we want to get better. And I think we are taking each game to do that.”
In a matchup of the NBA’s top two teams on Friday, the Lakers posted a 113-103 win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks. LeBron James had 37 points on 12-of-21 shooting. He also had eight rebounds and as many assists.
Anthony Davis, who was limited by foul trouble prior to halftime, scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
An 18-0 burst in the third quarter sparked the Lakers to their third consecutive victory and their 10th in 11 games. The win also allowed them to clinch their first playoff berth since the 2012-13 season.
“I came here to put this team and to put this franchise back where they needed to be,” James said. “The league is not what it is if the Lakers are not winning.”
Breaking through against the Clippers would be another triumph for the Lakers.
“We were still trying to figure out ourselves,” James said of his team’s opening-night loss to the Clippers in October. “And then the Christmas Day game, we didn’t play to our capabilities. We played great in the first half and then the second half we let it kind of get away from us. So we just look forward to see if we can continue to play good basketball, no matter win, lose or draw.”
Sunday’s game will be the third of four meetings between the two teams. They were scheduled to meet Jan. 28 but the game was postponed following the death of Kobe Bryant two days earlier. The game will be played April 9.
–Field Level Media