Even though the season is over and the Lakers settled the debate on which Los Angeles team is better, the rivalry with the Clippers isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. The two teams clearly don’t like each other and the Clippers are certainly gunning for the Lakers. Most of the year, the Clippers were the favorites to win the championship for a lot of analysts.
The Lakers had a better record and seemed to have the more cohesive roster but that didn’t stop many people from picking the Clippers. Despite the fact that the franchise has never even been to the Conference Finals, the Clippers still oozed overconfidence. Lakers veteran Danny Green believes that was their undoing.
“I think the basketball Gods will humble you if you don’t play the game the right way or do the right thing,” Green said the Real Ones Podcast. “I mean, a lot of people say speak things into existence – which is cool I like that, you shouldn’t be as cocky or because a lot of times it’s going to go the opposite way, you know. Someway somehow, you know, things ironically it’s gonna turn out the way opposite of you talking sh**.”
The Clippers had it out for the Lakers last season and Patrick Beverley went so far as to tell LeBron James that things were “pretty much over for you guys” after his team acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Lakers didn’t forget trash talk like that and now they’re getting the last laugh.
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Clippers Got Hit With Reality
Not only did the Clippers not live up to their expectation, but they were also absolutely embarrassed. They couldn’t even get past the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs. The loss early in the playoffs was a reality check for a team that didn’t seem to care much in the regular season because they thought they’d be unstoppable in the playoffs.
They are probably lucky they didn’t play the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals because it’s hard to imagine the series would’ve even been competitive. The Lakers were obviously the much better team.
Will the Clippers Be More of a Threat This Season?
Following last season’s debacle, the Clippers let go of head coach Doc Rivers. They decided to hire Ty Lue as his replacement. His only success as a head coach came when he had LeBron on his roster so it still remains to be seen how good of a coach he is. However, there’s no reason to think he’ll be bad at the job. He’s got a lot of talent to work with and is familiar with the team.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, their roster probably isn’t going to change much. They gave up a lot to land Paul Goerge in a trade. There’s also a chance they lose key role players like Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell. They don’t have the assets to trade for a third star so that’s likely off the table. If they fail to add more talent, beating the Lakers is going to be very tough for them.