Our event of the day is the unique derby in the NBA between the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Not only will these two franchises be battling it out for local bragging rights, but with the Clippers currently occupying the seventh spot in the West, a win tonight will be crucial to their playoff hopes. Meanwhile, the Lakers sit tenth in the same conference and will have to improve upon recent performances if they are to keep their postseason hopes alive. Having won just one of their last five outings, the Lakers have it all to do in the closing months of the season if they are to secure their first playoff berth since the 2012/13 season. After he missed 18 games though injury, LeBron James has now returned to the court to once again shoulder most of the point-scoring responsibility. He has averaged 27 points per game this term and also leads the team in assists and rebounds proving just how valuable he is to coach Luke Walton.
Though the Lakers have 16 more NBA titles to their name than their local adversaries, the Clippers have enjoyed greater success in the head to head games recently, having won 22 of the last 26 meetings between the two LA-based franchises. After making a mediocre start to the campaign, the Clippers reside eighth in the Western conference with a winning record of 35-29. They have been playoff regulars in recent years, having made a postseason appearance in six of the last seven seasons. However, they have been distinctly average at their home of the Staples Center this year and have recorded just 17 wins there all season – only the Suns and the Grizzlies have won fewer at home in the West. They will also be out for revenge tonight after losing the New Year’s Eve contest between these local rivals, on which occasion the Lakers ran out 123-120 winners after a thrilling contest which required overtime to settle it. Tonight should be another thrilling contest between these two rivals.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the EFL Championship where there is another exciting derby as Sheffield Wednesday host Sheffield United at Hillsborough. Though United currently sit third and are enjoying the better season thus far, Wednesday are on an eight-game unbeaten streak in the league and will be desperate to extend that run as they look to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle. Elsewhere, there is a colossal clash in the NHL as the Calgary Flames welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Scotiabank Saddledome with the hosts looking to secure their eighth win in their last nine outings. In the snooker, the Players Championship gets underway today in Preston where Ronnie O’Sullivan will be looking to defend his title from last year. Finally, India’s women will do battle with England in the cricket today as the first T20 International gets underway.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by NBA
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