When the Mayans talked about the end of the world, they were really talking about this. I never thought we would be in a world where the Los Angeles Clippers have become the dominant team in the NBA. And the Los Angeles Lakers are merely just an average team at this point (they beat Portland on Friday night to get back to .500).
All jokes aside, the Clippers have been playing fantastic basketball.
What do the Lakers think about that? Here’s ESPN L.A.’s Dave McMenamin with the report.
“They’re real good and they’re having a great streak, so we’ll have to reckon with them and they’re kind of setting the bar of where we need to get to,” (Coach Mike) D’Antoni said.
“As much as you notice Oklahoma City,” D’Antoni said. “As much as you notice Miami. You watch. They’re a very good basketball team but I don’t get caught up that they’re across town. You can’t help where they are. But yeah, they’re good.”
“Setting the bar of where we need to get to.” Yeah, it sounds weird that D’Antoni was referencing the Clippers but which team doesn’t want to be 25-6 and a 17-game winning streak? Certainly, the Lakers wished they had more wins than the Clippers’ current winning streak right now (they don’t; Lakers are 15-15, two less wins than the Clips’ win streak).
Kobe was asked about the Clippers. He had an obvious answer on whether this was the best Clippers team he had ever seen.
When asked if the current Clippers team was the best he’s seen in his 17 seasons as a professional basketball player in L.A., Kobe Bryant replied: “I don’t think it’s a question about it.”
“To put together win streaks that are that long, it shows a lot of focus, it shows a lot of unity and a lot of depth because they can beat you multiple ways,” Bryant continued. “If you’re going to have a winning streak that’s that extensive, you have to have guys coming in from all aspects of the game.”
And, of course, on every Laker fan’s mind…
Does Bryant want the Clippers to stay hot to have a shot of ending that streak as a little payback for the Clippers’ 105-95 win over the Lakers back on Nov. 2?
“I really don’t give a s—,” Bryant said.
The truth is that while the Clippers are riding this hot streak, the Lakers can’t worry about that. They have to worry about their own record. The Lakers will worry about the Clippers when they face them. Kobe and company have enough problems as is; why should they add to the stress (like the additional stress Antawn Jamison gave by reacting the way he did about playing time) on how a team across town is doing? The Clippers losing would help in the standings for the Lakers, yes, but it won’t help Dwight Howard’s back. The Clippers losing won’t suddenly make the Lakers become younger. And the Clippers losing won’t help the Lakers’ defense. While they strive to be like the Clippers in terms of winning this season, they can’t exactly worry about how they’re doing the entire time. All the Lakers can do is fix their problems and do some winning of their own. So what if the Clippers win 20 games in a row? The Lakers can’t control that… unless they’re playing against them.
The Lakers do face the Clippers on January 4th. Whether the Clippers are still on that winning streak or not, the Lakers look to avenge their earlier loss against them.