LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers on court during the game at Staples Center on December 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Chris Paul is expected to return from injury when he and the Los Angeles Clippers face off against Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers on Wednesday night in a game being televised by NBA TV.
Lob City isn't the preferred nickname for the Los Angeles Clippers' team of alley-oopers, but it'll have to do on Wednesday night as the Clippers meet up with the Lakers in a battle of southern California teams at the Staples Center. Considering the Lakers are the designated home team, they may as well get the courtesy of being referred to as Los Angeles in the teams' second meeting of the season.
The biggest news is that Wednesday morning's reports indicate that point guard Chris Paul should be back in uniform after sitting out for the past 11 days with a left hamstring strain. The injury, originally sustained against the Lakers in a bit of irony, has apparently healed enough that he was allowed to practice prior to Wednesday evening's affair.
Paul hasn't been the most destructive force in the NBA this season as he currently ranks behind Kyle Lowry in SB Nation's NBA MVP rankings, but Steve Perrin from Clips Nation broke down exactly what the former New Orleans Hornets point guard means to the Clippers.
Chris Paul led the Clippers in that first game, but he tweaked his hamstring late in the fourth quarter and has not played since. All indications are that he'll play tonight (he practiced full speed on Tuesday), but we'll just have to wait and see what happens when the game starts. Even if Paul does play, he could be on a minutes restriction. The Clippers chances in this game may hinge on Paul's availability and effectiveness. The Lakers have a history of having problems containing quick point guards, and Paul in particular has a history of torching the Lakers. Paul was the best player on the court in the first meeting, and may have to be again if the Clippers want to win.
Whether Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and the rest of the Lakers are able to counteract Paul's return to the court remains to be seen, but it should be fun to find out when the game tips off on NBA TV at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.