Sunday's Lakers-Clippers Matchup Is Going To Be Epic
Sunday's showcase features the two top Western Conference teams
It is officially the dog-days of the NBA season, and on this marvelous weekend in March, all basketball eyes will turn to Southern California for what is likely the biggest game in the Clippers-Lakers lopsided rivalry. It is tough to even call it a rivalry, as the purple & gold have historically dominated and are undoubtedly one of the most glamorous franchises in all pro sports, while the Clippers are, well, not that.
From Pasadena to Long Beach, Boyle Heights to Malibu and beyond, the success of the Lakers is well-documented and replayed; when you make it big in the “City of Angels”, the whole world sees it. Since their arrival in L.A. prior to the 1960 season (making them the first NBA franchise on the West coast), the Lakers have won 16 NBA Championships and have touted some of most notable names over basketball’s extensive history. You get the picture.
For the Clippers, time hasn’t passed so pleasantly. Since leaving San Diego’s Midway district for L.A. in 1984, the Clips have zero championships to show for it. The Lakers’ 16 titles are more than the Clippers’ total playoff appearances (14). So now that you have a brief understanding of the NBA landscape in Los Angeles (which you probably already did), the hero-villain complex is evident.
However, the previous half-decade has seen the status-quo subverted from a performance aspect, as the Clippers have boasted respectable rosters and built a real following under head coach Doc Rivers. Since Kobe retired in 2016 (and arguably a few years prior), LAC has truly outperformed the Lake-show.
But the Lakers, of course, could not allow that to proceed. 2016-2019 was perhaps the darkest times LAL has ever endured, but after bringing LeBron & A.D. to Hollywood, signing head coach Frank Vogel, and adding a few key veterans, the Lakers are back on top of the West. They play well on both sides of the ball and are never overmatched from a talent-point. As per usual, LeBron is playing like a perennial MVP and A.D. the DPOY.
Thus far in the season, LAL is 48-13 and is hot as ever, winning 10 of their last 11 (including a confident win over Eastern-top-seeded MIL on Friday night at Staples). However, if there has been a weakness, it has been the inconsistent bench-play when LeBron steps off the floor.
A New-Age Rivalry
Oh, but don’t you worry: the Clippers haven’t gone anywhere. After a change in ownership and an explosion of the CP3-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan corps, head coach Doc Rivers has found himself once again among the elite teams in the league. Coupling Kawhi Leonard & Paul George together with a young, gritty roster has proved to be a winning formula. Although this team has dealt with injuries and load management all year, they play extremely physical night in & night out. With a 43-19 record, they hold the Western two-seed over Denver. But like the Lakers, the Clippers are hitting their stride right now. With everyone healthy, LAC has won six straight games, featuring two impressive road wins in Oklahoma City and Houston, respectively. For the Clippers, the only thing standing in the way is their beloved roommates, and come Sunday afternoon, they’ll get their shot.
Tipping off at 3:30pm EST on ABC, Staples Center will be trimmed in red, blue, and black for the Clips, but that won’t matter, as the Laker crowd will overwhelm.
Three hours before tip, the Lakers are listed as 3.5-point underdogs in this matchup. So far this season, the Clippers are 2-0 over LAL: a result the Lakers are well aware of. Sunday’s matchup will be the most intense yet. At +/-3.5 points, this game could easily go overtime and/or be decided by a single point. Sit back, relax, have an easy Sunday, good luck; I’ll catch you on the other side!
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