The Lakers’ Brandon Ingram (#14) trying to push the ball past the Clippers’ C.J. Williams. Photo courtesy of youtube.com
AN OVERVIEW OF HOW THE TWO NBA TEAMS CALLING LOS ANGELES HOME ARE DOING WITH THE SEASON HALF-OVER
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: 2017-18 BY THE NUMBERS (To This Point)
- Second place in the Pacific Division
- Sixth place in the Western Conference
Streak: Won last six
Last Game: Beat the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center, 109-104, on January 17th
Next Game: at the Utah Jazz on Saturday, January 20th
Blake Griffin, PF – 22.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 5.3 apg
DeAndre Jordan, C – 11.8 ppg, 14.9 rpg (*2nd in the NBA)
Austin Rivers, G – 15.8 ppg, 3.6 apg
Lou Williams, G – 23.2 ppg, 5.0 apg (*13 straight games with at least 20 points)
LOS ANGELES LAKERS: 2017-18 BY THE NUMBERS (To This Point)
- Fourth place in the Pacific Division
- 13th place in the Western Conference
- Fifth worst record in the NBA
Streak: Lost last two
- Lost nine straight from December 22, 2017 to January 5, 2018
Last Game: Lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City OK, 114-90, on January 17th
Next Game: vs the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center on Friday, January 19th
Brandon Ingram, SF – 15.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg
Lonzo Ball, PG – 10.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 7.1 apg
Kyle Kuzma, PF – 16.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Julius Randle, C – 13.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg
LAKERS vs CLIPPERS 2017-18 HALLWAY SERIES:
- Clippers lead, three games to none
- Clippers won most recent game over Lakers, 121-106 on December 29, 2017
Next Hallway Series Game: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at Staples Center – Final game of the regular season, Clippers are the designated home team
The Clippers’ Ike Iroegbu #19 lays the ball up as Lakers’ Julius Randle #30 and Josh Hart #5 defend during their pre-season NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Friday, October 13, 2017. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG) Photo courtesy of dailynews.com
The prevailing thought going through my head regarding these two SoCal hoops teams is that their seasons are going as expected.
Though the Clippers were not expected to be as strong with Chris Paul and J.J.Redick gone – for reasons we all now know considering the recent incidents between Paul’s Houston Rockets and the Clips when they recently played each other,
And despite the team once again resembling a virtual MASH unit with Griffin and (currently in his case) Jordan missing time due to injury,
I give much credit to Doc Rivers’ team for their current good play,
For being in the thick of the playoff chase,
And especially for the coming out of guard Lou Williams as he’s having the season of his life, filling the needs at guard quite neatly.
Williams’ career-high fifty points against Golden State on January 6th, securing the Clippers’ first win over the defending champions since Christmas Day of 2014, is an illustration of the impact he has had on the team.
As for how I see things the rest of the way, one thing is for certain…
As long as they are playoff contenders, THEY BETTER NOT TRADE DEANDRE JORDAN!
If things start to go south for the Clippers over the next few weeks, then I can see Jordan being traded to ignite a rebuilding project.
Otherwise, it would be complete folly for coach Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer to blow things up now.
Full highlights of the last time the Lakers and Clippers played each other, the Clippers winning 121-106 on December 29th. Courtesy of YouTube.
What About The Lakers?
As I said on this site when I wrote about them a few months ago, those Lakers are essentially a college team (a college all-star team to be sure, but a college team nonetheless) playing professionally.
Nearly all of their key players are in their mid-20s or less and have been in the league five years or less, with two of those players, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, being rookies.
That’s no way to win in the National Basketball Association on a consistent basis, and never will be.
Two things come to mind regarding this Lake Show…
* Ball has proven to be a real talent with nothing but upside, which the Lakers desperately need in their going on five-year rebuilding efforts; to illustrate this, that team is 0-7 when the former UCLA one-and-done doesn’t play.
* I have to give oodles of credit to Laker fans as with their team now in its fifth year of irrelevance, it can now be said that they are the most patient, long-suffering fans in pro basketball (and arguably in pro sports) right now.
Despite the sometimes extreme ineptness that has seen their Lakers at or near the bottom of the NBA since 2013-14, those fans are still passionate about that purple and gold team on a pronounced level.
They still pack Staples and cheer for their team vigorously, and woe be to the fans of other teams – especially fans of the Clippers, despite them owning the Lakers on the court for nearly five years – who disparage their precious Lake Show.
I honestly don’t know if elite superstars like Lebron James (who will be on the free agent market this summer) will sign on with the Lakers next season, though that team dearly needs a couple of veteran presences to bring them together.
But one thing’s for certain:
If James or Paul George (preferably both) do come, they will be in the playoffs next year.
If they don’t – as they stand right now – I see two more years of futility for those Lakers before they become relevant again as those young guys need to learn how to win at the pro level.
I’m surprised that I haven’t seen shirts and caps saying “MAKE LAKER BASKETBALL GREAT AGAIN” around SoCal.
As always, the rest of the season will be interesting for both of our downtown L.A. franchises.
The Clippers’ Blake Griffin driving past the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball (right) and another unidentified Laker. Photo courtesy of nba.com