The Lakers and Clippers are in control of their series against the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets, respectively, in the 2020 NBA playoffs. But neither of Los Angeles’ squads is out of the woods just yet, and both will have to overcome stiff competition in order to bring about an intra-city Western Conference Finals that seemed ordained from the start of the 2019-20 campaign. James Harden, Russell Westbrook and company won’t go quietly against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Purple and Gold. Nor will Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and the young, talented Nuggets acquiesce to Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Clips without a fight.
On this week’s episode of Hollywood Hoops, Eric Pincus and Josh Martin break down the remaining matchups in the West to date. Our co-hosts tip off the show by looking at how the contrast in styles has played out between the Lakers and Rockets. While Houston has used micro-ball to generate a maelstrom of three-pointers, LA has used the long ball judiciously to open up the interior for its superior size and strength. Also key for the Lakers: Rajon Rondo, whose return from injury has given the Purple and Gold another playmaker to take pressure off LeBron and AD.
Eric and Josh then turn their attention to the Clippers, who’ve shown more of their true colors against a game Nuggets bunch. As much as Montrezl Harrell, the 2019-20 Sixth Man, and Lou Williams, the previous three-time winner of the award, have done for Doc Rivers off the bench this season, neither sub-er star has shown quite so brightly in the playoffs. Can those struggles be attributed to the bubble? Or is the recent slide of LA’s second unit the result of shorter rotations and longer minutes for starters in the postseason?
Finally, our co-hosts close out the show by pondering the future for Giannis Antetokounmpo, in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ disappointing second-round exit against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.
00:00 – Lakers vs Rockets
17:35 – Rajon Rondo in Playoff Mode
33:45 – Clippers vs Nuggets
48:19 – Giannis’ Future in Milwaukee