The NBA Christmas Day games are already on the calendar of basketball fans, but this latest one, which is about the battle for Hollywood, could draw even more attention.
The reason? the most discussed silent rivalry in the league.
Lakers vs. Clippers at the Staples Center, the Los Angeles arena where both teams are at home. Right in the middle of LeBron James against Kawhi Leonard. A sibling rivalry. Two players who rarely talk about their brewing war, even though everyone else seems excited about it.
"I would say there is mutual respect, but there is also a reasonable level of fear," an anonymous Eastern Conference executive told Bleacher Report, who plunged deep into the silent war between the two players. "They know that they are really talented. But there is not much admiration. I don't see her going out for dinner. "
Patrick Patterson, Leonard & # 39; s teammate, was more direct in Ric Bucher's report: "You will never acknowledge it, but I think under the table, yes. There are two people in LA of all, both of whom are the same Striving for price, being in huge teams and having a tremendous chance of making it to a championship and winning. Our primary goal is to reach the postseason, but I think there are a bit of eyes that go back and forth go. That has to be. "
If they share the court.
Part of the anticipation for the game is that recent developments raise doubts about the availability of James – and free agent catch Anthony Davis – for the Christmas campaign.
Both players missed training on Monday. James missed Sunday's game against the Denver Nuggets with a chest strain in the back and Davis suffered a knee injury on Sunday when he fell awkwardly during the game.
Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel said both players will be reevaluated on Tuesday.
When James shows up and Leonard's charging management schedule on the 25th doesn't include a day off, you can look forward to a lot.
The Clippers had their first hits this season when they won the opening game 122-102, in which James and the Lakers took a 13-2 lead before they withered in the heat of Leonard's 30-point performance. "It was like a price war," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was quoted after the game. "They hit us in one fell swoop at the beginning, but we kept moving forward",
And then there's the recent story.
The two stars were almost teammates when James & # 39; Los Angeles Lakers tried to lure the reigning final of the MVP home to the City of Angels.
Leonard returned home but signed with the Clippers. And this partnership, Leonard and the Clippers, hopes to play off as the little brother trying to defeat the more dazzling half of the sibling rivalry.
In an interview with an NBA general manager from Bleacher Report, Kawhi said: "I would help him more with his legacy than mine." – With reports from Louie Greg Rivera and AFP
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