- The Clippers won’t be as short-handed as the Lakers have been this season, but they’ll be close when the teams meet tonight at Staples Center in a home game for the Lakers. Clippers coach Doc Rivers announced before the game that Jamal Crawford will miss his third straight game with a strained left calf and Jared Dudley is out with mid-back spasms. Throw in J.J. Redick (bulging disc in his lower back) and the Clippers will be without two of their starters in the two previous games against the Lakers this season, as well as the first person off the bench in Crawford, who’s also the team’s second-leading scorer at 19 points. The Clippers lost the season opener to the Lakers but came back with a 36-point win in January, their biggest win ever against the Lakers.
- The Lakers, already shorthanded due to long-term injuries to Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back) and Nick Young (knee), also won’t have reserve forward Jordan Hill because of a sore right knee, but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni had not used Hill much lately anyway, limiting him to a combined 12 minutes in games last week against Memphis and Sacramento and then sitting him entirely the last two games against Portland and New Orleans. Hill has started a career-high 19 games this season but is too small to play center and D’Antoni prefers power forwards who can stretch the floor like Ryan Kelly and Wes Johnson, both of whom face a considerable challenge against Clippers leading scorer Blake Griffin, who has scored at least 20 points in the last 20 games.
- Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall has been mired in a brutal shooting slump the last five games and didn’t start the second half of Tuesday’s game against the visiting Pelicans, but D’Antoni is sticking with Marshall tonight. He’ll start alongside Johnson, Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks and Kent Bazemore. Marshall, signed out of the D-League in December after injuries decimated the team’s point guard depth, has gone scoreless in four of the last five games while shooting 3-for-24 from the field. Marshall has continued to distribute the ball in the timely fashion however, owning at least 10 assists in the last three games. Jordan Farmar, who got the start in the second half over Marshall two nights ago, has pushed Marshall for the starting role by averaging 18.7 points over the last four games.
– Dan Arritt