Our event of the day is the NBA clash between the LA Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The hosts currently sit 9th in the Western Conference, just outside the playoff places, and will be desperate to improve upon recent performances to make a push for post-season basketball. Meanwhile, the Warriors have continued their dominance in the West and currently lead the way with a record of 32-14 as they go in search of their third straight NBA championship. The Lakers have had a mixed season, and have particularly struggled when LeBron James has been away from the court. It was against tonight’s opponents on Christmas Day when LeBron sustained a groin injury that has kept him out of action for the opening weeks of 2019, but the Lakers are eyeing a return for the all-star by the end of the month. In his absence, second-year pro Kyle Kuzma has stepped up to take the reins at the Staples Center and scored 32 points last time out against the Rockets, notching eight rebounds on the night to boot.
However, Lakers coach Luke Walton will be eagerly awaiting the return of his prized asset as they go in search of their first playoff appearance since the 2013/14 season. Appearing in the playoffs hasn’t been so much of an issue for the Golden State Warriors of late, with their status almost being guaranteed before a ball is tipped each season. They have played post-season basketball for six-straight seasons and look in good stead to make their seventh straight appearance this time round. Golden State lead the league in points per game, having notched 118.5 on average thus far. Their immense scoring power is boosted by the presence of Steph Curry, who has averaged 29.8 points per game this season, along with 5.4 assists. The two-time NBA MVP will be gunning for his fourth championship this year and it would take a brave man to bet against him doing just that. The Lakers will be buoyed by their Christmas Day victory over the Warriors, where they toppled the champs 127-101 with LeBron only featuring for 21 minutes, meaning the Warriors will be out for revenge at the Staples Center tonight. It should be an exciting NBA game.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Big Bash League in Australia where the Adelaide Strikers will host the Hobart Hurricanes at the Adelaide Oval. The Hurricanes are setting the pace in the league, having won seven of their first eight games of the campaign. Meanwhile the hosts will look to bounce back from defeat last time out at the hands of the Sydney Thunder and notch their fifth win of the season in this Monday night clash. Elsewhere in the NBA, the Philadelphia 76ers host the Houston Rockets at the Wells Fargo Center as the hosts look to close the gap on the frontrunners in the Eastern Conference. In Italy, the Serie A champions are back in action after last week’s Supercoppa win, as Juventus host Chievo at the Allianz Stadium. In the NHL, the Florida Panthers will go in search of their third win on the bounce as they welcome the San Jose Sharks to the BB&T Center. Finally, the round of 16 gets underway today at the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, as reigning champions Australia continue their bid for back-to-back titles against Uzbekistan.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Golden State Warriors; NBA
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