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Why a Lakers-Clippers playoff series would come down to wire

LOS ANGELES — It does not take much imagination to conceive what a Lakers-Clippers NBA playoff series could become.

“Epic,” Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma predicted.

You would have the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis competing for star power against the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and Paul George; each team’s role players trying to become unexpected heroes; both teams diving for loose balls and tussling with each other near the basket; a pro-Lakers crowd fill up Staples Center regardless.

“It’s how the league is going to make money,” Kuzma said. “It’s going to happen.”

It does not take a psychic to predict that one. But here is a tougher question to answer: What is going to happen? The Lakers’ 112-103 win over the Clippers on Sunday at Staples Center could have been a preview.  

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After struggling with consistency amid injuries and 29 different starting lineups, the Clippers have played the last seven games with a healthy roster. After fielding pre-season concerns about their health and chemistry, Davis (30 points), James (28) and most of their supporting cast have become the best version of themselves. 

The Lakers (49-13) created a 6½-game cushion over the Clippers (43-20) for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with their first win in the series after losses on opening day and Christmas Day, but Sunday’s game offered more questions than answers on what that could mean in the playoffs.

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