4 Reasons Lakers Not Worried About Clippers' LA Emergence
The Clippers have been dominating headlines and highlight reels ever since they traded for Chris Paul prior to the start of the regular season. The combination of Paul and All-Star power forward Blake Griffin has made the Clippers one of the most exciting teams in the NBA—regardless of their record.
Currently, the Clippers and Lakers are tied for first place in the Pacific Division. The Clippers have been playing average ball while the Lakers have been playing much better—the game against the Detroit Pistons was an exception.
Although Blake Griffin and the Clippers have been in the news for good reasons, do not think for one second that the Kobe and the Lakers are worried.
Here are some reasons why the Lakers are not scared that the Clippers will take over the basketball reins in Los Angeles.
The Clippers' Recent Woes
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The Clippers have been on the decline as of late.
In their last 14 games, the Clippers have won seven and lost as many. The reason being is that Chauncey Billups went down with a season-ending Achilles injury. The Clippers have been using Randy Foye as their starting shooting guard, but that's not helping them out the way they wanted it to.
In comparison, the Lakers have been playing much better as of late. In their last 14 games, the Lakers have won nine and lost five. The Lakers have been gelling as a team and playing inspired basketball under head coach Mike Brown.
If the Clips keep playing average basketball, they might not be able to win the Pacific Division—or worse—make it to the NBA Finals.
The Lakers will have no reason to worry if the Clippers can't find their way to a winning record without Chauncey Billups.
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The Black Mamba’s popularity is the toughest to compete against.
Whether Kobe scores a game-winner, has an intimate moment with his wife or wears a different color mask, he will always dominate national headlines.
Unless Kobe stops playing at a high level, then it will be very tough for any other player in his city or even on his team to get the publicity. Take a look at the headlines after the loss against the Detroit Pistons.
Most of the headlines were about Kobe and how he wore a black mask. The rest of the headlines discussed how Kobe played one of his worst games of the year. Not one headline mentioned the fact that Andrew Bynum played one of the best games of his career.
Not only does Kobe dominate the headlines, but he also dominates in games. Kobe will never allow the Clippers to take over the top spot in Los Angeles as long as he's playing. Kobe will either get the best out of his teammates when it matters—like the Miami game—or he will make sure the Lakers bring in someone who can help him.
As long as Kobe is lacing up his shoes and making his way onto a basketball court, don’t expect for anyone to take his spotlight—ever.
Trade Deadline Rumors
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The Lakers have been all over the trade rumors all year.
To Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, this may not be the reason as to why they would like to be in the headlines. Nevertheless, the Lakers have been in the headlines all year because of potential trades involving their two dominant big men.
There have been some whispers about the Clippers trying to find a replacement for Chauncey Billups (see Sam Amick's report about the Clips possibly going after Ray Allen), but you would not know about those unless you go out and search for them.
Although it may not be the same around the NBA, the Lakers trade rumors have dominated the conversations on local media outlets. If Chris Paul came out and said that the Clippers need to make a change in their head coach, it would likely be a lesser priority than a rumor about Pau Gasol and how a team who wants to trade an All-Star point guard for him.
If the Lakers do decide to make a trade at the deadline, it would likely be a trade that puts them in a better position to make it to the NBA Finals and continue to play well after Kobe retires. The last thing the Clippers need is for the Lakers to get better for the present and the future.
Even if the Lakers stay quiet prior to the trade deadline, don’t expect the media to not talk about why the Lakers stayed quiet and whether or not it was a good decision. As long as the Lakers dominate the headlines, the Clippers will not be thought of, and the Lake Show can just enjoy their top spot.
The Lakers Are Still the Superior Team
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Whether or not the Lakers make any trades prior to the deadline, they are still a better team than the Clippers.
Although the Clippers defeated the Lakers in a more convincing fashion than the Lakers did, the Lakers are still the superior team.
The Lakers were in a much different position than the Clippers when the season started. The Lake Show has been playing much better as of late, and that's because they finally understand the offense that Mike Brown has been trying to implement.
The Clippers have a better grasp of Vinny Del Negro’s offense because he has been around for them longer than Mike Brown has for the Lakers—and let’s be real—Del Negro’s offense can’t be a very intricate one.
Clipper fans may have argued that the Lakers were an inferior team prior to the Billups injury, but once Billups went down, so did the Clippers chances of overtaking the Lakers as the top basketball team in Los Angeles.
The Lakers are a team full of playoff experience and NBA Finals winners. Billups provided the Clippers with their desperate need in playoff experience. With the injury to Billups, the Clippers are left with a bunch of young players who have barely tasted the playoffs.
The Lakers will not only defeat the Clippers in their rubber match on April 4, but they will also defeat the Clippers if the two do meet in the playoffs because the Lakers are the superior team.