The battle of LA will continue this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET when the LA Clippers will host their City-rivals, LA Lakers. This game will be a bit different from their previous matchups as it comes late in the regular season. Nevertheless it has special importance for each team and it will be really enjoying for the fans of both teams to watch.
First of all, this is a key game for the Lakers. Mike D’Antoni’s team really needs every win they can get out of their last six games if they want to enter this season’s Playoffs. The Lakers have a 40-36 record and they are just half a game ahead from the Utah Jazz, who have one more loss in their record.
On the other hand, the Clippers now focus on the Playoffs and don’t have to worry much about their remaining games. However this one has a special signification. The reason is that the Clips need to establish themselves as the best team in the City of Angels in this new era of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. It’s no secret that this has been the most successful season in the history of the organization. But it will take really much effort and many seasons of such performances for the Clippers to just be able to start comparing with the legendary Lakers. The conversation about the best team in LA can only have meaning if we are talking about the best team at this moment and that’s of course because the Lakers are out of reach in regards of history and titles.
Throughout the history of the NBA the Lakers have linked their name with the meaning of success and together with the Boston Celtics, they have been the two teams with the most titles in the history of the league. From the era of Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to the most recent successes of Kobe with Shaquille O’Neil and even with – a healthy and well-conditioned – Pau Gasol, the Lakers have dominated not only Los Angeles but the entire NBA for long stretches.
This year things have turned upside down in LA and we see them for the first time in many years struggling to secure a Playoffs spot. On contrary, the Clippers are enjoying the unknown taste of winning. They are the leaders of the Pacific Division and they can secure the title (and also the 4th seed in the West) with this win on Sunday for the first time in their franchise history.
It should be an exciting, Playoff-like game with lots of tension and emotion. For Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash is questionable because of a hamstring injury and for Vinny Del Negro, Chauncey Billups is questionable because of a groin injury.
It will be very intriguing to see if Kobe attains his scoring frenzy for yet another game and how the Lakers will team-defend Chris Paul. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin will have a tough task trying to stop the Lakers’ frontcourt, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. If the two teams finish in the seeds they currently hold and pass their opponents in the first round of the Playoffs, they will face each other again in the second leg.
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