Both the Lakers and Clippers Get Into the postseason, with Lakers in the play-in Tournament Tonight
Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers will get their postseason started with a Play-In game at the Crypto.com Arena against the Minnesota Timberwolves. At the start of the season few people gave the Lakers a chance at making the NBA Playoffs. They only won two of their first 12 games. To make the playoffs they won nine of their last 11 games
After the final game of the regular season, Lakers star LeBron James spoke to the media about their win and what it meant to the team. They had only one day to prepare for the Timberwolves and James said, “… For us, it’s good that we don’t have to travel. It’s good that we get to stay here, but we shouldn’t be comfortable. We need to stay on edge and get ready for the game.”
The Lakers have gone 18-9 since the trade deadline when the picked up new players Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell, who was drafted by the Lakers with the second pick of the 2015 draft. All three have been great additions to the team; both Vanderbilt and Russell were in the starting line up when the Lakers played the Utah Jazz on April 9 at the Crypto.com Arena. They were able to hold off the Jazz to finish the season as the seventh seed in the NBA Western Conference.
With both Anthony Davis and LeBron James able to play the Lakers will be very difficult to beat, especially when the Lakers are in their home. Davis scored 16 points against Utah and grabbed 13 rebounds, with three assists, three steals and four blocks. It was the Los Angeles defense that won the game against Utah.
LeBron James played 33 minutes and scored 36 points, 24 of those coming from the eight three-pointers he put into the net. Thirty-five points came from the Los Angeles bench with Beasley and Rui Hachimura getting into double digits. All five of the starters scored in double digits
The Lakers will need that great defense and effort off the bench to go deep into the playoffs. It all starts at home tonight against the Timberwolves.
The last time these teams met, which was March 31 in Minnesota, the Lakers won 123-111. Davis finished with 38 points, 17 rebounds with one steal and two blocks. And all five starters scored in the double digits, with James adding 18 points with 10 rebounds.
The other Los Angeles team, the Clippers, finished their regular season against the Suns in Phoenix. These two teams will meet again on April 16 in Phoenix to start their first round series. Los Angeles is the five seed and the Suns are the four seed in the Western Conference standings.
Their super star Paul George is expected to miss the first round with a knee injury and Marcus Morris, Sr. will miss at least one playoff game with a back injury. Los Angeles has been winning without the two because of their defense and the play from their other super star, Kawhi Leonard. He had 25 points and 15 rebounds in their final game of the season.
The Los Angeles bench has been playing well. Norman Powell added 29 points in their win over the Suns.
Joining the Clippers after he cleared waivers, point guard Russell Westbrook has found a home in the Clippers’ locker room. The 15-year veteran scored 25 points with nine assists and seven rebounds in their final game of the season.
Mason Plumlee is on the team, backing up Ivica Zubac who has played very well in the final games of the season. With Plumlee coming in when Zubac needs to come out, the Clippers will have a second seven-foot center.
Like the Lakers, the Clippers have a strong veteran presence leading the team: Westbrook, Leonard, Robert Covington and Nicolas Batum. That makes them one of the best teams in the western conference.
If the Lakers win their play-in game against the Timberwolves Los Angeles basketball fans both of their teams in the playoffs.
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