After 28 years, the Clippers are finally better than the Lakers. For real.
Let that sink in for a moment. Savor it, Clippers fans. Rub your eyes, click your heels three times, and wake up to the reality that the Clippers not only defeated their Staples co-tenant a second time this season (leading from tip off to final buzzer), but did so with three players in foul trouble, did so without their best bench player, and did so against a team desperate to climb to relevance. As Chris Paul’s sweet jumper sailed over the outstretched arms of Kobe Bryant to put the game out of reach, Clipper Nation could finally exhale and say the words we’ve never been able to muster – we are LA’s best team.
Bill Parcells famously said, “You are what your record says you are.”
In this case, the records for our two LA teams speak loud and clear. The Clippers are in first place, tied for the NBA’s best record, and have the pieces in place to contend for a spot in the finals. The Lakers are now two games under .500, are ten games behind the Clippers in their own division (and two from even making the playoffs at all), and may be in even worse shape after a bruising stretch that will find them playing three of the top Western Conference teams in the next five days. The Clippers, it can now be said, “are,” while the Lakers simply aren’t.
Arguably, this game meant less to the Clippers than the Lakers, especially with the pesky Warriors in town, rested, and nipping at our heels 3 1/2 games back in the Pacific. The Warriors torched us three nights ago (and beat us on our home floor back in November) and it would behoove the Clippers to bring the same energy to Staples that they showed against the Lakers. The Warriors are a terrible match up for the Clippers, bringing a ton of outside shooting and floor spacing that seems to be the Achilles heel for our defense. Revenge would be sweet, so hopefully Jamal Crawford’s foot injury will have heeled by game time.
But for now, as I look outside at a beaming sunny morning in Los Angeles, I’ll repeat the words that haven’t left me since 10:31pm last night – the Clippers are the best basketball team in Los Angeles.
Tags: Blake Griffin Caron Butler Chauncey Billups Chris Paul DeAndre Jordan Dwight Howard Eric Bledsoe Grant Hill Jamal Crawford Kobe Bryant LA Clippers Lamar Odom Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Lakers Matt Barnes NBA Vinny Del Negro