Lamar Odom was interviewed after that game and was asked about the team's next game, a designated away battle against the Clippers at Staples Center. Specifically, the interviewer wanted to know if it felt like an away game. Odom smiled, looked up to the crowd and said, "No, we still see lots of purple and gold. This is our home court".
The battle for L.A. was on.
Of course, it hadn't been much of a battle to that point, which explains Odom's cockiness—with the last nine games all going to the Lakers.
In fact, the last nine years out of 10 belonged to the Lakers. The sole exception being 2006 when the Clippers beat up the Lakers.
Odom's quip must have reached Playa Vista where the Clippers practice. The day before the game Chris Kaman made it clear he wasn't intimidated. "We can beat any team in the league, including the Lakers."
At least one columnist made fun of that quote. The audacity of the weakling calling out the school bully. It would come back to haunt the Clippers and Kaman, wouldn't it?
I won't lie to you and say there was any anticipation about this game here in the L.A. area because there wasn't. There is just too much going on here for a matchup between David and Goliath to generate much interest. A sell-out crowd to this Clipper home game was more indicative of Laker fans snatching up cheaper tickets to watch their team than any real excitement over the matchup.
Clipper home game seats generally are 30 percent to 35 percent cheaper than Laker home game seats. So the same seat and when the Lakers play here, the same team, but 30 percent off. It's a bargain many Laker fans couldn't pass up.
They were there in droves trying to motivate their team with a "Lets go Lakers" chant in the fourth quarter as their team mounted a come back. Then, the unthinkable happened.
The Clippers regrouped after giving up a 15-point lead and actually took control of the game in the fourth quarter. No really, the Clippers.
The Clipper faithful, ever a passionate and knowledgeable bunch, then began to mock the Laker faithful with a "We want tacos" chant as the Clippers pulled away. Thanks to a partnership with Jack In The Box restaurants, any time a Laker opponent is held under 100 points and the Lakers win at home everyone in attendance receives two free tacos.
Clipper Nation had fun reminding the Laker faithful they were on the wrong end of the taco tonight.
Former Clipper Elton Brand said after beating the Lakers in a regular season game in 2006 that "...we are supposed to beat teams like that." Back then, it was true. The Clippers were a much better team. That's not the case now.
The Clippers beat a banged-up Laker team with no Pau Gasol, a sick Lamar Odom, a busted up Kobe Bryant, and an inexplicably there-but-absent Derek Fisher. This is a good win and something to build on, but I think it's important for this club to expect to win games like this.
Based on Kaman's comment before the game and the outcome against L.A.'s other basketball team on Wednesday night, they do.