The Clippers’ Blake Griffin going up or a shot during their Christmas Day battle with the Lakers last season. Photo courtesy of nba.com
WHERE LOS ANGELES’ CLIPPERS AND LAKERS STAND AS THE NBA SEASON HAS BEGUN
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Current Record: 3-1
Most Recent Game: Lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on November 2nd, 85-83
Next Game: Friday, November 4th, vs the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, TN
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Current Record: 2-3
Most Recent Game: Beat the Atlanta Hawks, 123-116, in Atlanta, GA on November 2nd
Next Game: Friday, November 4th vs the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center
Highlights of the Lakers’ most recent game, a 123-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks. Courtesy of YouTube.
To be perfectly honest, there’s really not that much to say about where our two local teams that play in the National Basketball Association stand as the Lakers and Clippers have begun their 57th and 33rd seasons, respectively, in L.A.
The Lakers have shown some improvement under their new coach Luke Walton, as illustrated by their win over Atlanta on the road last night.
But they remind me of that scene near the end of the original baseball classic The Bad News Bears where after the Bears narrowly lost the championship game, the other team told them,
“We still don’t think you’re a very good team, but you’ve got guts. All of you.”
That’s how I feel about these Lakers as with all the core members of that team – guards Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell and forwards Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle – being age 23 or less and none of them having been in the NBA for more than two years,
They are essentially a college team – a very good, Final Four-caliber college team, but a college team nonetheless – playing pro basketball and learning how to win at that level.
Which is why it is still going to take a few years before the Lakers are relevant enough to be considered a playoff contender.
Indeed, if they win 30 games this season, that will show a significant improvement from the franchise-low 17 wins from last year and make Walton, who has shown to be the right coach for this very young team, a strong candidate for coach of the year.
There is one very positive thing that the Lakers have retained from their “Showtime” and Shaq/Kobe (I hope he’s enjoying his retirement) days:
An extremely dedicated fan base who despite all the inept futility that their purple and gold-clad team has shown the past three seasons, has never faltered in their passion for the Lake Show.
That will serve them well when the Lakers eventually return to prominence.
Which, to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in the iconic movie Casablanca, won’t be today, won’t be tomorrow, won’t be next year, and won’t be for a couple of years.
But that return to the NBA’s elite will come.
It will just take a little patience.
Highlights of the Clippers’ most recent win over the Phoenix Suns, courtesy of YouTube.
As for the team which in all honesty has taken over as the new rulers of pro hoops in L.A., the Clippers…
Where they stand is pretty much the same place as where they stood for the past three or four seasons,
A franchise experiencing (by far) its best days who are on the brink of something really glorious as they have been regular playoff participants only to get thwarted by a better team, whether it be the Oklahoma City Thunder (who beat them last night), the San Antonio Spurs, or the team that with the addition of Kevin Durant has everyone giving them the Larry O’ Brien Trophy already, the Golden State Warriors.
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are every bit as good a threesome as any in the league, and better them most.
If they can stay healthy, which they failed to do as injuries to Paul and Griffin killed the Clippers’ hope as much as the Portland Trailblazers did in the second round of last season’s playoffs,
I don’t see any reason why those Clippers wouldn’t have at least a chance to slay the Golden State Goliath.
As such, I – as well as every other objective NBA fan in SoCal – see Doc Rivers’ team’s dominance over their cross-the-hall rivals continue in head-to-head competition, the Clippers winning 11 straight and 15 of the last 16 games over the Lakers.
It’s a long season; as the cliché goes,
Time will tell us how things unfold.