Lakers Set to Face Clippers in Preseason Opener

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Lakers are scheduled to begin preseason play tonight by playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center with LeBron James and Anthony Davis getting the night off.

The playing time for "some of the new guys" is still to be determined, coach Frank Vogel told reporters Thursday.

The Lakers signed center Marc Gasol, forward-center Montrezl Harrell and guard Wesley Matthews as free agents during the offseason and acquired guard Dennis Schroder and forward Alfonzo McKinnie in trades.

Two players who were with the Lakers at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, as they won their record-equaling 17th NBA championship in October left the team via free agency -- center Dwight Howard and guard Rajon Rondo -- two others were traded -- guard Danny Green and center JaVale McGee -- and two others remain unsigned, JR Smith and Dion Waiters.

When asked what a "successful preseason opener" would consist of, Vogel responded, "For me, it's really just about our guys getting some opportunities to grow their conditioning, to get used the game environment with no fans in the building in an arena and for our guys to get their feet wet in terms of the habits we're trying to build in training camp."

"It really isn't about winning and losing, especially this early on in the preseason," Vogel said. "It's about getting everybody the right opportunities, enough work, but not too much work."

The Lakers announced on Nov. 11 that games at Staples Center will be played without fans until further notice following "the guidance of state and local health officials."

The Lakers will also face the Clippers in a preseason game Sunday and the regular-season opener Dec. 22.

Friday's game marks the unofficial debut of Tyronn Lue as the Clippers' coach succeeding Doc Rivers, who reached what the team described as a "mutual decision" with chairman Steve Ballmer to step down as coach after seven seasons.

Lue was an assistant coach with the Clippers last season when they lost to the Denver Nuggets in a seven-game Western Conference semifinal series after taking a three games to one lead.

Lue coached the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2016-18, guiding them to three NBA Finals appearances including a championship in 2016.

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