The LA Clippers and Lakers play in the first game of the restart but it shouldn’t be read into.
After the league and players finalized everything yesterday, we can officially say the NBA is back. As part of the restart in Orlando, teams will play eight regular-season games to not only help decide playoff seeding but to also help fulfill television deals. On the first night of the restart, the premiere game is the LA Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
It makes sense, right? What better way to get viewers back on board than to have two of the best teams with a budding rivalry play on the first night? That’s the issue though.
It’s the first game.
Players have been off for three months, many unable to actually get access to a gym. Teams will head out to Orlando over a three day period at the start of July, will have a quick training camp, and a few “preseason games” before the eight-game season starts. That hardly seems like enough time to get ready.
Some teams, including the Lakers, will also have to adjust to players not joining them in Orlando. Avery Bradley has opted not to play in order to keep his family safe, so Los Angeles will be without one of their starters. They will have to adjust their rotations to account for that.
The Clippers will still be in the process of fitting in their mid-season acquisitions in Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, and Joakim Noah. There are kinks to work out for everyone on top of just getting back into playoff shape.
This is just a long, roundabout way to say this:
Don’t read too much into the first game. It’s one game and the outcome doesn’t mean “Oh, the Lakers will sweep the Clippers” or “The Lakers don’t have an answer for Kawhi Leonard nor Paul George“. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the fact that basketball is back.
Once we are in the Western Conference Finals, then we can start really talking.