The Lakers and Clippers each endured their fair share of scares during the opening days of the 2020 NBA playoffs. But both Los Angeles teams appear to be on track again, thanks in no small part to their respective star power. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have spearheaded the Purple and Gold’s return to form as a physical force that swallows up foes like the Portland Trail Blazers on defense and generates easy scoring opportunities on offense. The Clippers, meanwhile, have seen Paul George and Montrezl Harrell recapture their mojo and, in turn, rejoin Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams among the core of a club that’s poised to dispose of the Dallas Mavericks and move on to the second round.
But do the Lakers and Clippers have causes for concern? Or are they still bound to bump into each other in the Western Conference Finals? On this week’s episode of Hollywood Hoops, Eric Pincus and Josh Martin talk through the issues that LA’s teams have faced and how their respective early challenges might set them up for long-term success inside the NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando. Could the valiant efforts put forth by Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and their Blazers brethren be just the wake-up call the Lakers needed ahead of potential matchups against guard-oriented groups like the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder? Will Luka Doncic’s magic prove to be what brings the Clips together as they eye what would be the longest postseason march in franchise history?
Our co-hosts also reflect on Kobe Bryant’s birthday and “Mamba Day,” and the unique opportunity the NBA and its players had this year to honor the life and legacy of a legend lost too soon. To close out the show, Eric and Josh look at LA’s place in how the Coach of the Year race turned out, and which of the league’s recent job openings would be the best choice for Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue.
00:00 – Mamba Day, Lakers Overtake Blazers
13:50 – Lakers in Round 2: Rockets or Thunder?
32:24 – Clippers Need More From Paul George
45:22 – NBA Coaching News