LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles basketball fans are in for a treat this Christmas.
The Lakers and Clippers are tentatively slated to face-off as a part of the NBA’s annual holiday hoops marathon, according to an announcement made by Los Angeles Times’ Mike Bresnahan on August 7, 2015.
Lakers will apparently be home for Christmas. Clippers, too. They're tentatively scheduled to play each other Dec. 25 in a Laker home game.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) August 7, 2015
This matchup—between a Clippers team on the verge of a Championship run and a Lakers team just trying to get back into a playoff spot—is not only great for L.A. fans that want to stay put on December 25, but it’s an opportunity for either franchise to make a pretty bold statement on Christmas Day.
With a win, the Clippers, who lost in the second round of the playoffs last season to the Houston Rockets, a.k.a. James Harden, can continue their dominance in recent years over their city rival and claim ownership to bragging rights that once consistently belonged to a dominant Lakers organization.
Three years ago, though, marked a shift in power in the city of Los Angeles. With the acquisition of core players, Deandre Jordan, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul in 2013, the Clippers finished with a better record than the Lakers for just the fifth time and won the season series for the second time since moving to L.A. in 1984, sweeping them that season.
Since then, the Clippers have been a force to be reckoned with, not only in SoCal, but across the league. With the additions of veteran forward Paul Pierce and scrappy defender Lance Stephenson this off-season, head coach Doc Rivers has high hopes of winning the franchise’s first-ever NBA championship.
A Lakers win on Christmas would be a much bolder statement seeing as how beating the Clippers seemed somewhat impossible just a season ago.
After a blowout loss to the Clippers last year, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant had this to say to Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times: “They’re just better. They have better players. They come at you in waves. They’re deeper.”
This season, head coach Byron Scott is hoping to have a little depth of his own. The Lakers, coming off their worst season in franchise history, have some young and veteran talent suiting up with a healthy Kobe Bryant.
They’ve added the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle is back after fracturing his leg in the first game of the season a year ago, and they’ve added center Roy Hibbert and the NBA’s sixth man of the year, Louis Williams.
Jordan Clarkson is back for his second year with the team and a healthy Nick Young will provide another scoring guard for Scott’s rotation.
The last time the Lakers and Clippers played on Christmas was back in 1991. The Lakers won 85-75.
Other Christmas Day games that have been revealed already include a match-up between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Miami Heat, as well as a re-match of this year’s NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers going up against the Golden State Warriors.