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NBA Preview: Clippers, Lakers Target Easy Wins Over East Struggles

Sunday will be a busy day at Staples Center, which will host not one but two NBA games. First up in the afternoon, the Clippers will look to bounce back from a horrific loss as they take on the resurgent New York Knicks.

And on primetime, the Lakers will have their sights set on scoring a fifth straight win when they face the injury-decimated Detroit Pistons.

Meanwhile, there are four other non-LA games for SBOTOP NBA fans to enjoy as we break down all six games on the schedule.

 

New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are coming off their worst loss of the season last night as they were mauled by 26 points at home by the Grizzlies. With Paul George out of the line-up due to a tight hamstring, the Clippers simply couldn’t stop the Grizz as they were booed by their own fans.

The good news for the Clippers is that George could return on Sunday. They will also go up against a Knicks team that finally fell back to earth with a loss to the Suns. That defeat snapped New York’s season-high three-game winning streak.

Julius Randle, who had been averaging 28 points in his previous five games, finally cooled off against the Suns as he finished with 13 points on just 5-of-17 shooting from the field.

The Clippers will surely be eager to respond after yesterday’s embarrassing showing. But if they are once again without their second star in George, the Knicks will like their chances of making this a much more competitive game than most people anticipate.

 

Portland Trail Blazers @ Miami Heat

Hassan Whiteside hopes to continue winning for the Trail Blazers as they battle against the Heat in NBA
Portland Trail Blazers’ Hassan Whiteside dunks into the ring during their NBA clash against the Los Angeles Lakers

The Blazers finally snapped their five-game losing skid — which included bad losses to fellow strugglers in the Pelicans, Suns, and Knicks — with a 19-point win over the Wizards. Damian Lillard took charge with 35 points, while Hassan Whiteside had a monster game with 23 points, 21 rebounds, and five blocks.

Whiteside will be even more motivated to play well as he takes on his old team, the Miami Heat, who suffered two blowout road losses to the Wizards and Magic in recent days. However, they’ve still been taking care of business at home, where they are an impressive 16-1 — the best home record in the league.

But having said that, their last three home wins — albeit against three good teams in the Jazz, Pacers, and 76ers — have come by a combined five points, so they have been far from convincing.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Despite still being without (reportedly unhappy) star big man Karl-Anthony Towns as well as Andrew Wiggins, the Timberwolves are at last putting up some creditable performances once again.

They’ve won three of their last five games and beat the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.

It remains to be seen whether the Timberwolves’ two young stars will be able to return for their matchup against the Cavaliers.

The Cavs came out on top in their first meeting of the season a few days ago in Minnesota. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, who combined for 50 points in their loss to the Thunder last night, led the way with 18 apiece in the win against the Wolves.

 

Memphis Grizzlies @ Phoenix Suns

The Grizzlies’ recent roller-coaster play continues. They are 8-6 in their last 14 games and have alternated losses and wins in their last eight.

The Grizz, with young stars Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant leading the way, showed just what they’re capable of by blowing out the Clippers. But consistency remains a significant concern for a team that’s still so young and on the second night of a back-to-back.

Still, they should still like their chances of stringing together a winning streak as they face the Suns. Phoenix have won three of their last four games after going on a disastrous eight-game losing skid. Although, their wins (against the Kings, Blazers, and Knicks) aren’t all that impressive.

Nevertheless, they still have Devin Booker, who is capable of getting hot and leading them to victory. Booker is on quite a hot streak, scoring 32 or more points in each of his last five games.

 

Detroit Pistons @ Los Angeles Lakers

The last few weeks have been disastrous for Detroit. They’ve lost nine of their last 12 games and have made some NBA 2020 news as they’re reportedly considering trading away All-Star centre Andre Drummond.

They finally ended their three-game losing skid by beating the Golden State Warriors despite still being without Blake Griffin, Luke Kennard, and Markieff Morris. But they are almost surely set to go back to losing ways as they visit the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers on the second night of a back-to-back.

LA won their fourth game in a row — which includes home wins against the Mavericks and the Suns— after defeating the Pelicans. After sIt’;coring 41 against the Pelicans in their first meeting, Anthony Davis shredded his old team once again as he put up 46 points.

LeBron James is not at his best as he continues to play through a groin issue. But he continues to dish out the assists — he’s had 10 or more in each of his last six games — for Davis and co., who are more than capable of taking care of business against the depleted Pistons.

 

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