LOS ANGELES — With veteran playmakers, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo both sidelined by injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers will be banking on the youngsters to step up against the LA Clippers on Friday night.
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James went down with a left groin strain midway through the third quarter on Christmas Day at Golden State and has been listed as day-to-day.
The star forward was held out of the Lakers’ defeat against the Kings on Thursday night, which snapped his consecutive games played streak at 156 and the team confirmed that he is also ruled out of Friday’s contest.
James leads the team in scoring at 27.3 points per game and assists, at 7.1 dimes per contest.
Point guard Rajon Rondo will also miss the game with a finger injury he also picked up in the win against the Warriors on Tuesday night.
Rondo suffered a Grade 3 sprain to his right ring finger and will be out for at least a month after undergoing hand surgery.
The injuries to James and Rondo could provide the rest of the team with the perfect opportunity to step up.
Players such as Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball were all impressive for Los Angeles (20-15) on Thursday night in the 117-116 defeat at the host Sacramento Kings, despite the visitors blowing a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead.
This young Lakers team will be going up against the Clippers (20-14), who have been performing above their expectations so far this season and will be pumped for tonight’s game at STAPLES Center.
Entering this encounter, the Clippers have won 21 of the past 24 games against the Lakers and ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is backing Doc Rivers’ men to continue their recent dominance in this series.
Led by Tobias Harris and veteran guard Lou Williams, who are averaging 21.5 and 17.6 points per game, respective, the Clippers have been scoring freely in the recent outing and are one of the Top 3 teams in the NBA in scoring, at 115.9 points per game.
The Los Angeles Lakers are ranked No. 9 in the NBA in scoring, with 113.3 points per game.