We had such big plans for this one…
With completely opposite records, the 55-23 Los Angeles Clippers battled the 25-52 Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon. While bright lights were set up for a nationally televised game, there was one missing component – interest.
Nevertheless, the Clippers won their second-straight season series against the Lakers with a final tally of 120 to 97, more respectable than the 48-point victory in their last meeting. This fourth contest concludes a season series where the Clippers punished the Lakers by an average margin of 13.2 points, while holding them to 37 percent shooting on the year and forcing 57 turnovers.
More commonly known as the “hallway series”, it’s unquestionable that the balance of power has shifted from the purple and gold to the team formerly known as “Lob City”. The combination of that transition coupled with the poor regular season play of the Lakers has turned what could’ve been a great rivalry for the city of Los Angeles into what the players more commonly refer to as “just another game”.
The two teams have faced off 135 times since the Clippers moved to Los Angeles, and the all-time record stands at 144-56 in favor of the Lakers. Even with their previous win, it would take the Clippers at least 22 more regular season series games with no losses to even the score. It would also take another 14 home losses against the Clippers for the Lakers home record to be knotted up at 22-22 (currently 22-8).
After Doc Rivers was introduced as the Clippers new head coach, when asked about the hallway series he seemed eager to get-it-on with the Lakers, exuding an energy reminiscent of the Celtics versus Lakers rivalry, and a chip on his shoulder that could’ve been a remnant of his 2010 Game 7 loss against L.A.
Now the Lakers are just another team below the .500 mark, and the Clippers have grown out of infamy, sporting the moniker of the Lakers “junior varsity team” since their arrival in Los Angeles. They have loftier goals, and would gladly fork over their claim as top dog in Los Angeles if it meant hanging anything other than a Pacific Division champion banner.
In Clipperland, the Lakers have gone from being a noisy rival, to simply white noise. The Clippers have won 18 of their last 21 games, and are on target to be at full health for the first time this year at the start of the post season.
It seems the Clippers-Lakers rivalry must be put on hold for now. According to each team’s record and current state of franchise, they’re two ships heading in opposite directions. As the old adage goes, the Clippers have bigger fish to fry.