The History of the Lakers-Clippers Rivalry
The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers may have a long history of playing against each other, but they have never been considered true rivals. The Lakers, with 17 championships to their name, have always been the dominant team in the city, while the Clippers have struggled to make an impact in the league. Despite both teams making the playoffs in the same season on only eight occasions, there has been little drama or animosity between the two sides. However, that may be about to change.
The Arrival of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
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In the summer of 2019, the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, snubbing the Lakers. The move was supposed to signal the start of a new rivalry, with the Clippers seen as the championship favorites. However, the team ultimately blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs, while the Lakers went on to win the 2020 NBA title.
The Lakers and Clippers Now
Despite the lack of a true rivalry, Wednesday’s game between the Lakers and Clippers is set to be one of the most important games in their history. For the first time, both teams are genuine contenders for the championship, and both badly need a win to bolster their playoff chances. The two teams are currently separated by only a single loss in the standings, with the Lakers in eighth place and the Clippers in sixth.
The Importance of Wednesday’s Game
Wednesday’s game will likely be a pivotal moment in the season, with the winner possibly securing a top-six spot in the Western Conference and avoiding the play-in round. At the same time, the loser could find themselves fighting for a postseason berth. The stakes are high for both teams, with injuries to critical players adding an element of unpredictability to the matchup.
The Narrative Stakes
While the practical implications of the game are significant, there are also narrative stakes to consider. The Lakers’ decision to trade Russell Westbrook has paid off so far, with the team succeeding without him. A deep postseason run would validate the decision to move on from the former MVP. For Westbrook, a victory over the Lakers would be a form of revenge against the fans who soured on him.
A New Era for the Lakers-Clippers Rivalry
While the Lakers-Clippers rivalry may not have the same history and drama as other NBA rivalries, Wednesday’s game could start a new era. With both teams fighting for a championship, the stage is set for a high-stakes matchup that could have long-term implications for both franchises.
“The NBA’s fiercest non-rivalry doesn’t quite deserve the postseason stage, but that doesn’t mean its greatest game doesn’t warrant the spotlight the Clippers so notoriously avoid. The Lakers and Clippers have given us four decades of meaningless basketball, but if they are ever going to form a genuine, high-stakes rivalry, Wednesday seems like as good a place as any to start.”
In summary, Wednesday’s game between the Lakers and Clippers is shaping up to be one of the most critical games in the history of their rivalry. The stakes are high with both teams fighting for a top-six spot in the Western Conference and a chance at the championship. While the Lakers have been the dominant team in Los Angeles for decades, Wednesday’s game could mark the start of a new era for the Lakers-Clippers rivalry.