Lakers News: Clippers' Chauncey Billups Not Intimidated by In-City Rivals

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 22, 2012

Jan 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups (1) reacts after making a 3-point basket with one-second left against the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Mavericks 90-89. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups wants it to be known that he's not afraid of the big, bad Lakers.

The 35-year-old recently declared, via the Detroit Free Press:

They are trying to stack the deck over there, but I tell you what - I'm very pleased with my team and what we've been able to do and I will just say this - don't nobody scare me, man."

Billups reportedly even threw in a chuckle at the end.

It makes sense that the five-time All-Star wouldn't be intimidated by the Lakers. After all, it was his Detroit Pistons in 2004 that knocked out the heavily-favored Lakers, four games to one, in the NBA Finals. He averaged 21.0 points, 5.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from downtown in that series. It marked the end of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's reign together in L.A.

Lakers offseason acquisition Dwight Howard is the new Shaq in town and he will face the same obstacles with Bryant as O'Neal did in 2003-2004. Will the two be able to work together and win a championship or will there be issues about who gets the ball more?

Keep in mind, Real GM reported in February that Bryant told Howard he would have to be the Lakers' third option on offense if he came to L.A...behind Bryant and Pau Gasol. It was reportedly one of the reasons why Howard was hesitant to join the Lakers.

Bryant and Howard can say whatever they want now that Howard is with the Lakers, but the fact remains, they must show that they can come together down the stretch next season.

Billups knows all about "overrated" teams like the 2003-2004 Lakers. He knows that chemistry must first be established before a team can go on to become NBA champions. It's part of the reason why the Pistons beat the Lakers in 2004—Bryant and O'Neal's chemistry had crumbled.

The Big Three of the defending champion Miami HeatLeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh—displayed the chemistry last season that they were lacking in their first season together. They had to develop together before their immense talent could bring an NBA title to South Beach.

The Lakers must do the same and Billups knows this. Whether the Lakers' new pieces—including Steve Nash—come together next season will determine if Billups eats his words or not.


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