Though they’ve shared a city for years, the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers haven’t had much of a rivalry. One team has clearly dominated the city for decades. The Lakers have 17 championships while the Clippers have never even been to the Western Conference Finals.
When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George came to Los Angeles, many pegged them as the best team in the city. The Lakers had different plans as they won another championship last season. Despite the Clippers’ lack of success, there is a bit of rivalry brewing between the two teams. When LeBron James was selecting his All-Star team, he took a playful jab at George.
“This is the only time I’ll root for this guy or team because we are enemies,” LeBron said on Thursday. “Nah, I’m just making fun of it.”
Obviously, LeBron is just having fun but it is interesting that he would make a comment on the rivalry. Jared Dudley has come out and said that the Lakers were irritated with the Clippers last season and specifically named George. It’s safe to say that LeBron probably isn’t a big fan of the team.
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LeBron Shades Jazz
LeBron was on a good one on Thursday night. Not only did he take a playful shot at George, but he also threw some shade at the Utah Jazz. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were among the last players selected despite leading the team with the NBA’s best record. LeBron explained why.
“There’s no slander to the Utah Jazz,” LeBron said. “You’ve got to understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. As great as Karl Malone and John Stockton was, we would never pick those guys in video games.”
Utah doesn’t exactly scream basketball city but they have a very good team. Their roster is probably too young for them to be considered legit title contenders but they deserve a lot of praise for the excellent season they’ve put together.
Biggest Threat in the West for Lakers?
As usual, the Western Conference is loaded with really good teams this year. Even with their loaded roster, the Lakers are only the third seed in the conference right now. It’s still too early to consider the Jazz as legitimate title threats but the Lakers won’t have an easy time getting to the NBA Finals.
The Clippers are better this year than they were last. Paul George has gotten back on track and Ty Lue seems better-suited to lead this roster than Doc Rivers did. However, it’s hard to buy into them as title contenders until they actually make it far in the playoffs.
One sneaky team that could give the Lakers trouble is the Phoenix Suns. Chris Paul has turned that team around. Devin Booker is an emerging superstar and Deandre Ayton does have talent but Paul deserves the credit for their turnaround. He just knows how to win and he’s got some good talent to play with. They probably don’t have enough to compete with either Los Angeles teams but underestimating Paul would be a bad call.