Lakers Doing Everything in Their Power to Make LA a Clippers Town

Thursday night was the same old, same old for both the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers. The Lakers lost, making their overall record an appalling 27-35. Meanwhile, the 34-31 Clippers got the better end of their hated rival.

Los Angeles has always been a Purple and Gold town, even when the Lakers were at their worst. But the Lake Show’s recent ineptitude, along with their decade-long futility against their little brother, gives reason to wonder how long they can keep the Clippers from stepping on their territory and carving out a bigger piece of the Hollywood pie.

The Clippers humiliated the Lakers on national television

In what’s become a near-weekly tradition, the Lakers embarrassed themselves in front of a national audience.

LeBron James scored a team-high 26 points as the Lakers fell 132-111 to the Clippers. Reggie Jackson was the star for the victors, finishing with 36 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds.

As per usual, the Lakers struggled coming out of halftime. LA was outscored 40-18 as the Clippers built a commanding 106-81 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Though this time, it wasn’t the usual turnover problem or inefficient shooting that buried the Lakers. It was a defense that, simply put, fell flat on its face.

Meanwhile, the Clippers enjoyed defeating their rivals once again. LA has now won five games in a row, two of which were against the Purple and Gold.

“We came out on a mission,” Jackson told ESPN after the game. “We wanted to close out. We’re still a hungry team. … We feel like we’re writing our own story. We know what the narrative is with our guys out. We’re trying to do something special with this group. It’s about this team, to write our own story.”

Thursday was just another example of the Clippers owning the Lakers

The Clippers’ 21-point victory completed the four-game season sweep of the Lakers. Given the historical difference between both of these franchises, you’d think this year would be an anomaly. A rare example of the Clips getting lucky for a change.

Actually, when you look over the last decade, the Lakers would be lucky to defeat their cross-hallway rivals.

The Clippers have beaten the Lakers in their last seven meetings, dating back to last season’s opener on Dec. 22, 2020. The last time James and the Lake Show walked away as victors was July 30, 2020, in the Walt Disney World bubble.

But wait, it gets worse (at least if you’re a Laker fan). The Purple and Gold haven’t won a season series since 2011-12, two years after Kobe Bryant’s fifth and final title. From 2012-13 onward, the Clippers have won 32 out of 37 matchups against their historically-dominant foes. That includes season sweeps in five of those 10 seasons.

Yes, there’s even more. The Lakers still hold a commanding 150-81 all-time lead over the Clippers. However, since the opening of Staples Center/ Arena in 1999-00, the tally is deadlocked at 45 wins each. So all of the Kobe-Shaq dominance of the 2000s has been completely wiped out by the Clippers crushing the Lakers in the 2010s and early 2020s.

The Lakers are lucky more young fans aren’t moving toward the Clippers

At this point, an adult Lakers fan isn’t going to stop rooting for the Lakers because of a bad 10-year run against the Clippers. The same is true for fully-formed Clippers fans, although their dedication to their team is highly commendable.

In all likelihood, LA will always be a town that’s Lakers above Clippers, end of the story. But LeBron and company are making that decision increasingly more difficult, especially for the impressionable youth.

Yes, the Lakers have their 2019-20 championship. But what else have they done in the last 10 years? They haven’t won any playoff series outside of their title season since 2011-12. LeBron only has a few years left. Anthony Davis can’t stay healthy. And Russell Westbrook and the majority of the roster have been disastrous.

On the flip side, the Clippers are still in search of their first title. But they’ve made the playoffs all but once since 2011-12. They have progressed one round in each of the last three years, reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2021 without Kawhi Leonard. Speaking of Kawhi, the Clips appear destined to make the playoffs again without Leonard, Paul George, or Norman Powell.

Even with no draft picks, the Clippers have their stars in place and a solid team around them capable of beating anyone. The Lakers can barely beat losing teams and have no chance against contenders.

The trajectory of these two franchises couldn’t be any further apart. And while the Clippers can’t make much of an impact in LA now, each dominant display against the Lakers grows their future fan base a little more.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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