Six things to keep in mind for tonight’s game:
- The Lakers have won 9 straight against the Clippers, averaging an incredible 20.1 point margin of victory in those 9 games. The 9 game winning streak for the Lakers is the third longest in the rivalry’s history.
- Surprisingly, the Clippers actually shoot a higher team field goal percentage than the Lakers. Coming into tonight’s game, the Clippers shoot 46.6% from the field, while the Lakers shoot 46.2%. Despite this, the Lakers average nearly 9 more points a game than the Clippers. The main reason for the large point differential? The Lakers take care of the ball much better, but also play at a much quicker tempo. The Lakers rank 7th in the league in pace factor at 94.7, while the Clippers are one of the slowest teams in the league (23rd) with a pace factor of 91.8.
- The Lakers are a perfect 14-0 against teams that are below the .500 mark this season.
- You would think the Clippers’ big advantage would come from having a better bench than the Lakers, but the numbers tell a different story. Scoring wise, the Clippers rank third lowest in bench points (23.5 PPG) among all NBA teams. However, in the first meeting between these two teams, the Clippers bench outscored the Lakers bench 29-9. They’ll likely need to have a similarly strong performance tonight for the Clippers to have a chance at the upset.
- Pau Gasol is unlikely to play, but if he does the Lakers are extremely tough to beat with him in the lineup. Stretching back to February 5th of 2008, the Lakers are 105-25 (.808 win pct) with Gasol in the lineup. They’re slightly more vulnerable with Gasol out of the lineup, posting a 14-7 record in 21 games (.667 win pct).
- Who gets the majority of the minutes at small forward tonight? Al Thornton is still battling the flu, but he appears to match up best against the massive Ron Artest. Both Rasual and Thornton struggled mightily in the first meeting against the Lakers, shooting a combined a 6 for 17 from the field. Do the Clippers ride the hot hand in Butler (14.4 PPG over the last 5 games), or play the better physical match for Artest in Thornton?