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USATSI

After four-plus months, the 2019-20 NBA season will resume on Thursday night, live from the league's Disney World bubble. Twenty-two teams are down in Orlando to get play going again, and they'll all play eight "seeding games" before moving on to the postseason. 

What better way to get the action started than with a matchup between two title contenders? The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers met on the original opening night way back in October, so it's fitting they're one of the first games back inside the bubble. 

Will this be a Western Conference finals preview? Only time will tell. Ahead of the NBA's restart, here's everything you need to know about Clippers vs. Lakers.

How to Watch

  • Date: Thursday, July 30 | 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: Disney Wide World of Sports -- Orlando, Florida
  • TV: TNT 
  • Odds: Lakers -4.5 | O/U: 216.5

Storylines

Clippers: Well, the Clippers are going to be without Lou Williams for this game, after the veteran guard was caught picking up dinner at a strip club in Atlanta earlier this week, and had his re-quarantine time extended to 10 days. On the court, it will be interesting to see if Kawhi Leonard can turn things up once the real games start. He's been strangely bad in the scrimmages, shooting 12-of-46 from the field. The Clippers will obviously need him operating at a high level if they want to make it out of the West.

Lakers: The Lakers have had their own distractions off the court. Dwight Howard has gotten in trouble for not wearing a mask, and made some ignorant comments about vaccines. On the floor, the biggest storyline is how they respond to the various absences they're dealing with. Avery Bradley is sitting out of the restart, while Rajon Rondo suffered a broken thumb in practice shortly after they arrived in the bubble. Those are two big losses to their backcourt, and they'll need players like Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and possibly even J.R. Smith to step up.

Game prediction

These two are the favorites to meet in the WCF, and it would be a surprise if one of them didn't represent the West in the Finals. Where they'll be in a few weeks remains to be seen, but for this game, the Lakers are 4.5-point favorites. It's never a bad decision to back LeBron James, especially with the way Leonard has struggled to get going in Orlando, so we'll take the Lakers.