Battle for Los Angeles; LAC or LAL?
Last season sparked the debate - the battle for LA - because prior to then, the Clippers have literally been the Junior Varsity team playing in the same arena as the Lakers. The Clippers had never won anything or established a commitment to winning in their first 30 seasons in Los Angeles (with the exception of 2 or 3 years) and therefore were a relative unknown outside the country while their counterparts were recognized as an international brand.
Last season the Clippers traded for Chris Paul and the entire culture has shifted to a desire to win and win often. The Clippers, with very limited practice time last season, managed to make a trip to the Western Conference semis where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs, however, they had not made the playoffs since 2006.
This season, the Clippers lead the NBA with a 25-6 record heading into the new year on a 17-game win streak. The Lakers are lucky to enter the new year with a record of 15-15 as they struggled mightily out of the gates and even with their replacement head coach, Mike D'Antoni.
Kobe Bryant is enjoying a prolific scoring season once again, however, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol have been inconsistent at best around him while Steve Nash is just returning to the court. Mike D'Antoni might be in over his head with this squad as their defense has been nothing short of atrocious this season, which has been the main reason behind their slow start.
The Lakers are set for a matchup with the current kings of LA on Friday night -- who will take that matchup?