All the talk about which NBA team runs Los Angeles has been going on ever since the Clippers moved to the city in 1984. Now, for the first time in league history, both L.A. teams post legitimate threats to win this season’s title. The city of Los Angeles is now the home of four of the top-ten NBA players in the league. The Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis while the Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
The Clippers have played against the Lakers twice now this season, the most recent being on Christmas day. The Clippers are now 2-0 against the Lakers as they beat them on Dec 25, 111-106. Now that the media has exploited the topic about the Lakers and Clippers’ marquee matchup, former Lakers’ great Shaquille O’neal decided to chime in on the conversation. To what may come to a surprise, Shaq may have jumped onto the Clippers’ bandwagon. During a conversation on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Shaq changed his mind about the Lakers and said that the Clippers are in fact the better team in Los Angeles.
“Charles [Barkley] said the other day that the Clippers were a little better than the Lakers and Kenny [Smith] and I was a little bit reluctant to believe him, but I am kind of starting to lean towards the Clippers because Kenny and I know that when it comes to winning championships, of course you are going to rely on your talent and you’re also going to rely on your others. Those others for the Clippers man, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, the other guys coming off of the bench…Patrick Beverley,” Shaq said. [Video: 23:10.]
Despite the fact that the Clippers have edged over the Lakers both times the teams have played against each other this season, the Lakers still post a better record than the Clips. The Lakers boast the best record in the West, 26-7 while the Clippers place third in the Western Conference, 23-11.
The game was a tough matchup as the Lakers once had a 15-point lead but failed to retain it. The Clippers clawed back from their double-digit deficit and wound up winning the battle of L.A., 111-106. The game came down to the final seconds of the game, and some may argue the final defensive play of the game between Patrick Beverley and LeBron James. With 3.4 seconds left in the game, James held the ball above his head as he looked for an open player to pass to. Beverley came in clutch as he hit the ball out of James’ hands. The officials ultimately ruled that the ball rolled off of LeBron’s hands last, giving the Clippers possession. Though this was a huge moment during the game, Charles Barkley disagreed that this play ultimately won the battle.
“Everybody is talking about this play, this wasn’t it. The Lakers had a 15-point lead. If you have a 15-point lead you can’t let them come back, it doesn’t come down to just one play on instant replay. What I’m saying is the Clippers have a better team than the Lakers,” Barkley said.
Whether or not Barkley is correct, the Clippers have still proved that they currently run the city of L.A. The Clippers play again on Dec. 31 against the Sacramento Kings and the Lakers play on Jan. 1 against the Phoenix Suns.