Bryant will be a big factor in this rivalry game.
The Los Angeles rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers historically has been dominated by the purple and gold. Now, the Clippers are among the top teams in the Western Conference, while the Lakers are struggling to stay relevant.
With the big game on Thursday night, here are a few players on both teams who will dominate.
There are few point guards that are truly as dominant in the NBA as Paul, and he will have no problem proving that against the Lakers. Although he is still recovering from a knee injury, Paul has played well in his past three games, including double-doubles in games against the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers.
Thursday night will be just another day for Paul, as his knee doesn’t appear to be slowing him down as much as anticipated. Steve Nash is not known for his defensive abilities, and Paul will take advantage of that.
If there is one thing players and coaches alike know, it’s that the Black Mamba doesn’t have two bad games in a row. Bryant struggled in the game against the Phoenix Suns, scoring only four points and turning the ball over eight times.
With a big game at the Staples Center, there is little doubt that Kobe will have a big game. He will likely play with a little more intensity after a having such a down performance. Look for him to drop at least 30 points.
Griffin is the leading scorer for the Clippers this year, averaging 18.5 points per game. While this is a bit of a drop from last year, it doesn’t seem to bother him. The Clippers are third in the Western Conference and making a serious push to be in the NBA finals.
There is little doubt that Griffin will have another big day. His strength and athleticism will create a lot of open shots in the paint and a few big slam dunks. Expect at least one “posterizer” on Thursday night.
Metta World Peace
In a game where all of the stars shine, there is always someone that seems to step up for one of the teams. In this case, the player formerly known as Ron Artest will be that guy.
World Peace had a big game on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds. This is a good sign, and he's knocked down two three-pointers in each of the last two games. With so much attention going towards Bryant and Howard, World Peace will find himself open behind the line more than a few times.