Clippers, Lakers battle for L.A. supremacy on Christmas (Dec 25, 2016)
The struggling Lakers and the hobbled Clippers will be looking for a little Christmas cheer on Sunday in Los Angeles.
The Lakers have lost 12 of their last 13 games, while the Clippers' two stars, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, are dealing with injuries.
The Lakers (11-12), who last beat the Clippers (22-9) on opening night of the 2013-14 season, return home after a 1-6 road trip. After blowing 19-point leads in losses to the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat, the Lakers fell at the Orlando Magic, 109-90, on Friday night.
"We should've won some of those," coach Luke Walton said after the latest loss. "We're obviously disappointed, but we're not going to quit."
Louis Williams, the Lakers leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, was held to 3-for-11 shooting by the Magic.
Injuries are a problem for the Clippers, who have won 11 straight in the intra-city series. They were without Griffin and Paul for a 90-88 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Griffin had successful arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Paul, who's dealing with a hamstring issue, was listed as questionable for Sunday's matchup with the Lakers.
"Unfortunately, but luckily, I'm well-versed in dealing with a hamstring injury," Paul said after the Clippers' 106-101 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I can get back. I want to play."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said that Paul's status is up in the air.
"They gave us a sense that it wasn't a severe strain," Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. "He could possibly play, but he may not."
The head of the Clippers' training staff will make the final decision, Rivers said.
Raymond Felton had eight points on 3-for-11 shooting in Paul's place against the Mavericks. The Mavericks converted 20 Clippers' turnovers into 20 points.
Jamal Crawford had a team-high 26 points, and Austin Rivers added 16, as the Clippers bench accounted for 52 of the team's 88 points.
Griffin and Paul, the Clippers' two leading scorers, were averaging a combined 38.8 points per game. DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers is third in the NBA in rebounding with 17 a game.
Julius Randle, the Lakers' leading rebounder with more than eight per game, is expected to return Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. He missed the previous two games following the birth of his son.
Sunday's game, designated a home game for the Lakers, is the first meeting between the two Los Angeles teams this season.
The Clippers, who are 15-1 against the Lakers since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, won last year's Christmas game, 94-84.
It's the first of five consecutive home games for the Lakers. They host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.
The Clippers host the Denver Nuggets before embarking on a three-game road trip.