The battle of Los Angeles resumes tonight without it's usual protagonists. LA Clippers superstar Chris Paul and LA Lakers talisman Kobe Bryant are among the eight players from both teams that will miss out with injuries.
In the absence of Bryant and Paul, tonight's game is likely to be decided by the matchup between Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin.
Gasol has been forced into a bigger role since Bryant's second injury and is averaging 15.8 points per game and nine rebounds per game.
Griffin has matured as a player this season under coach Doc Rivers, he is still capable of the most spectacular dunks but has also contributed 22 points per game and 10 rebounds per game.
Injuries aside, this is an important game for fans of the two franchises. The Lakers are used to dominate this game; during Griffin's first year in the NBA, the Lakers swept the series but things have since changed. The Clippers have won four of the last five games in the series and they will be looking to add another to the win column tonight.
For Griffin, it's not about the rivalry “I’ve said this from day one, when it wasn’t like this, I couldn’t care less about what’s going on over there,” Griffin said. “It’s about us and the most satisfying thing is to be a part of this change of culture and this environment where we expect to come in and we expect to win games and make the Playoffs. We expect to do all of these things and that’s the most satisfying thing.”