Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers Set for Pivotal Clash on Wednesday Night

The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers didn't turn out to be powerhouses in the 2022-23 season, but their upcoming game will go a long way toward deciding who could be a real difference-maker this postseason. With both teams tied at 41-38, tonight's clash could determine which of the two teams ends up with the coveted sixth seed in the Western Conference.

The sixth seed is the final guaranteed spot in the playoffs; the seventh through 10th seed must duke it out in the dreaded play-in tournament. The Clippers and Lakers currently sit sixth and seventh in the Western Conference standings with only three games remaining on each of their schedules.

It will also be Clippers guard Russell Westbrook's first game against the team that jettisoned him earlier this year. The 2016-17 MVP has found new life in recent weeks; he's averaging 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game with a .556 true shooting percentage over his 18 appearances with the Clippers. That being said, parting ways with Westbrook has undoubtedly saved the Lakers' season: they've won 16 of 24 since the divisive star was traded away.

Tonight could be the highest-stakes matchup in the fabled "Street Lights vs Spot Lights" Los Angeles rivalry, but it won't be as star-studded as it could have been. Clippers forward Paul George remains out with a knee injury. The Clippers have won 10 straight against the Lakers, but that won't matter if Anthony Davis and LeBron James are healthy and peaking. Barring a Herculean effort from Kawhi Leonard or an all-time revenge game for Westbrook, fate appears to favor the Lakers. That's nothing new for the two franchises: The Lakers have 17 championships to the Clippers' zero.

The Lakers and Clippers will do battle tonight at 10:00 PM ET. 

Photo Credit: © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports