Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

May We Have a Lakers-Clippers NBA Playoffs Collision, Please?

August 17th, 2020 · No Comments · Basketball, Clippers, Kobe, Lakers, NBA, Uncategorized

I believe it is time to give the National Basketball Association full credit for pulling off something no one was quite sure would work:

The NBA Bubble.

Twenty-two teams, dispatched to the ESPN/Disney enclosed sports pod in Orlando, and left to figure out the bottom of the standings, and then stage the whole of the playoffs — which begin tonight.

This should be fun. The league has had a great run — with lots of help from their players — in creating celebrities out of their stars, and an argument now can be made that the NBA is the most interesting professional sports agglomeration. Any sport. Anywhere.

It would seem as if a half-dozen teams have more than a puncher’s chance at winning the Covid-19 pandemic-delayed championship, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. Formidable teams there.

And then we go to the Western Conference, where nobody survives unless they have at least two superstars.

Even some of those in the deeper reaches of the playoffs seeding (see: Portland Trailblazers, Dallas Mavericks) seem like real threats.

But there is one West match-up I think fans living in Los Angeles would like to see.

The Lakers versus the Clippers in the Western Conference finals.

You have heard of the Subway Series? When neighboring baseball teams made for a particularly intimate World Series collision? Make way for the Hallway Series. If things break right, the teams that share Staples Center could be a couple of thin walls from each other in a conference-deciding best-of-seven.

Here is why:

–Stars. The Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In their first season together, they have turned into a destructive force that took the club to the best record in the league, ending that embarrassing seven-year run out of the playoffs. The Clippers respond with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who finished behind only the Lakers in the West.

–Bragging rights. For decades, the Lakers routinely punked the Clippers, who had the misfortune of being owned by the inept Donald Sterling. Then, the Clippers flipped the script, got a new, 21st century owner, in Steve Ballmer, and the Clips were on their way. They dominated the Lakers for most of the previous decade, but this would be their first playoffs meeting in this century.

–The Clips and Lakers have the leading sports rivalry in the country’s second-biggest city. The Dodgers and Angels play in different leagues, so the “this town is too big for the both of us” stuff … well, baseball would like to say differently. The NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks co-exist in the same urban sprawl, as do the L.A. Galaxy and LAFC of Major League Soccer. But at the end of the day baseball is your grandfather’s game, and the Kings and Ducks and the Galaxy and LAFC … are just hockey and soccer.

Both the Lakers and Clippers seem ready to go the distance — but we want “the distance” to include stomping on the heads of the other guys.

The Clips are about defense and depth. The Lakers respond with a higher caliber of star power. Nobody beats LeBron James from being the focus of every camera, even at age 35. And Anthony Davis opens up the lane for James, who has looked like his younger self for most of the Bubble games.

It will not be easy. For either team. The Lakers get Portland and Damian Lillard in the first round, and the Clippers confront Dallas and child star Luka Doncic. The second round might well throw up the Houston Rockets at the Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at the Clips.

If I could have one more bite of this apple, I would like to see the Lakers claw past the Clips and get to the Finals — and win one for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, who died in that plane crash earlier this year — which seems like another lifetime now.

Let the games begin!


0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment