Those cute little kids down the hall gave the Lakers a run for their money, but in the end, they are just the cute little kids down the hall.
When you have suffered as long as the Clippers have, you don't really know what to do when you actually have a decent team that can contend for a title. Absurd names like Lob City and Clip Show boil over from the recesses of Los Angeles. It's time to introduce the Fake Show: the Clippers that would love to be rivals, but have much more winning to do.
Nothing is given easily in this business, and that includes the label of epic rivalry. The question was again asked of Kobe Bryant if these scamps down the hall are rivals. In fine Black Mamba form, he answered with honesty, and I agree.
"Please. We’ve got five championships. … Rivals come from the playoffs," Bryant said.
Duh. Dunks don't win championships; decades worth of commitment and pouring out bags of cash do. Just because Donald Sterling hasn't blown up this instance of the promising Clippers doesn't mean the curse of the L.A. JV team won't strike shortly.
There was a moment in the game that Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski points out for its poignancy. Pau Gasol touched the back of an irate Chris Paul's head. CP3 took umbrage and basically quipped that you don't touch his head. The report has Paul specifically stating, "Don’t touch the top of my head like I’m one of your kids."
The poor little tyke didn't enjoy not being the center of attention on Thursday night and in a game that the Clippers lost to the Lakers 96-91.
The fact is, Pau Gasol was trying to comfort, not patronize, and Bryant states that fact to its fullest.
Pau’s not a patronizing guy. I’d do some stuff like that, but not him. That’s just not him. Chris doesn’t like that stuff. He’s got that little-man complex. I do that to his head all the time. Man, he just hates it. But he’s a tough little [expletive], and he’s not going to let that [expletive] slide, accident or not.
CP3 is renowned for his spark and tenacity. There is no doubt that the Clippers and Paul will remember the loss and will seethe until the next meeting.
But the Napoleon Complex is now viral. It infects grocery stores and restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area. You are either a Lakers fan or a pale Clippers fan that is enjoying light for the first time.
I welcome you, Clippers faithful, to beat the bushes like you have been. Bright days are here, but do not mistake this for anything grander or more elaborate than it is.
The Clippers have a good team that is fast, young and energetic. They will make the playoffs and compete for the title.
On the other side of Staples is a team that has marked this town since the Fabulous Forum. They have been delivering championships before Jack Nicholson could even get a date.
A rivalry is a continuous bout between teams on equal footing. The Lakers and Celtics are rivals and illustrate how quickly we throw that word around.
Rivalry? Call us when the Clippers win a few titles, and then you will have big brother's attention.
Until then, you keep dunking balls and capturing Billy Crystal's imagination and Bill Simmons' emotions, because the substance is just not there.