Los Angeles Lakers: 3 keys that will win or lose the game vs. Clippers

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

2. How the second unit performs without LeBron James on the court

This game legitimately could swing in the minutes that the superstars are not on the court. We can expect there to be more time with them off the court as well, as both head coaches are likely more inclined to ease their stars into a higher workload instead of throwing caution to the wind in the first game back.

That is when Dion Waiters is going to have his chance to shine and he will undoubtedly make a difference on this game. His playmaking is going to be on full display while LeBron is off the court and if he gives the Lakers some of the spurts that he gave them in the scrimmages then they are in really good shape.

RELATED: Why Waiters and Smith are the bench spark the Lakers need

The fact of the matter is that the Clippers are not deep right now. They are without several key members of the team and even if they have someone like Landry Shamet play, he still has not gotten the benefit as the other players who have scrimmaged and have been practicing.

The Clippers’ “next five” consists of Reggie Jackson, Landry Shamet (maybe), Joakim Noah, Rodney McGruder and JaMychal Green. I would like to think that the Lakers have an advantage with Waiters, Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard.

The pace that is set for the Lakers while the stars are on the bench is going to be determined by Dion Waiters. However, it will be another role player that ultimately has the biggest say in what happens in this game.