LA teams may have NBA restart advantage

The Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers are two powerhouses in the Western Conference who endured early season challenges that may pay its benefits in July.

Sports

June 16, 2020 - 9:54 AM

LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) knocks the ball from Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) late in the fourth quarter at Staples Center on Dec. 25, 2019 in Los Angeles. Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The NBA that is scheduled to resume play at the end of July will look at lot different than it did when it was shut down, starting with the bubble environment the teams will be operating within at Disney World’s sports compound in Orlando, Fla., but certainly not ending there.

When the league stopped playing, 75% of the regular-season games were complete — a substantial sample size to make projections and predictions. The hierarchy was easy to sort out.

The Los Angeles Lakers, led by an MVP-type season from LeBron James and a dynamic partnership with Anthony Davis, were cruising in the Western Conference, where a collision with the Los Angeles Clippers loomed. To prepare for that battle, the Clippers had fortified their roster, trading for a starter in Marcus Morris and signing bench additions in Reggie Jackson and Joakim Noah. In the East, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks were better than everyone else. They had the reigning MVP, plenty of depth and the experience from the disappointment in the conference finals the previous year.

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