Friday wasn't a good day for NBA basketball in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers stumbled to their second straight road loss with a clumsy fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets, while the Los Angeles Lakers dropped their third in a row away from the Staples Center opposite the mighty Memphis Grizzlies.
Similar struggles aside, the hoops hierarchy in L.A. remains as topsy-turvy as ever. The Lakers may have more stars on their side (i.e. Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash), but it's the Clippers who've looked more like title contenders in the early going.
Seeing the Clips storm out to an 8-4 start is strange enough on its own. They've never so much as sniffed the Larry O'Brien Trophy since their founding in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. The closest the Clips have ever come to a date with destiny was in 2006, when they pushed the run-and-gun Phoenix Suns to seven games in the Western Conference semifinals.
As such, seeing the Clips playing like an elite NBA outfit is somewhat shocking, even if it shouldn't be with the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford on the roster. But have they upstaged their star-studded Staples Center co-tenants?
Well, maybe the Mayans knew what they were talking about after all. With that in mind—the Clips' rise, not the predicted apocalypse—let's have a look at how the Battle for L.A. has thus far been turned on its head.