A Tale of Two Los Angeles

Lakers and Clippers last met in the same court back in December last year and they are set to face each other again this upcoming Friday in both of the teams’ home Staples Center. The rivalry between these two teams dates back to the late 1980s and matches between them became one of the most anticipated sports events in Los Angeles today.

Here are the five moments in Lakers and Clippers shared history that defined their rivalry:

Clippers move to LA

The Clippers were once an Eastern Conference team, then known as the Buffalo Braves based in New York. in 1978-79, they moved out to San Diego and came to be known as the San Diego Clippers. They moved to Los Angeles in 1989.

The Clippers made Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena their home arena that time, 16 kilometers away from The Forum, the Lakers’ then-home court.

In 1999, the Staples Center became the Lakers’ and Clippers’ home. The locker rooms of both of the teams are only 21 meters apart between a concrete-floored hallway – thus, the rivalry’s nickname ‘Hallway Series.’

People of LA divided

Since the two teams came to occupy the same city and play their home game in the same arena, the people of Los Angeles began to divide into the supporters of either Lakers or Clippers. However, there are more Angelenos drawn toward the former than the latter in much of both franchises’ history.

Since the 1980s, the Clippers started to fashion themselves as the ‘People’s Team,’ selling their tickets much cheaper than those of the Lakers.

Player Trades

Back in 2004, Kobe Bryant almost join the Clippers when he was offered a free-agent contract. He still went to the Lakers, of course. In a parallel universe, Kobe went to the Clippers instead, he came to be known as one of the best players in the league, not as Lakers, but LA Clippers.

The Clippers would had their taste of great players and it happened when Chris Paul joined the team back in 2011. It was the beginning of a new era for the Clippers.

Prior to Paul’s arrival in the franchise, the Clippers have the worst win percentage in the NBA at .349, while the Lakers have the best at .659.

Since acquiring Paul though, the Clippers have won five out of their six matches against the Lakers.

‘Lob City’

In 2017, Chris Paul left the Clippers for the Houston Rockets and it was the start of the end of one of the greatest eras in the history of the franchise.

Back in 2011, the Clippers got its most memorable and popular nickname when DeAndre Jordan got the news that the franchise signed Paul up for the team. Blake Griffin got excited and jumped to Jordan, saying they are going to be Lob City.

The innocent quote was picked up by the media and turned it into a nickname that greatly defined the Clippers from their rivals inside the same city.

The time when the Griffin-Jordan-Paul trio were playing side-by-side for the franchise sparked Clippers’ rise to equalize and eventually dominate the Lakers.

Clippers’ rise, Lakers’ fall

Throughout much of the rivalry’s history, the Lakers are the clear dominants while the Clippers came to be known as the butt of the jokes.

By 1986, the Clippers are still the losing side in their games with the Lakers. The former even maintained a 27-match losing streak in the Forum against the Lakers. It was also commented that the beef between the two teams is a crosstown rivalry that is not even one.

The Lakers started to struggle in the 1991-92 season when Magic Johnson retired. As a result, the Clippers finally ended the losing streak and finished ahead of Lakers in the 1992-93 season.

Later history between the Lakers and Clippers saw a roller coaster ride of domination and fall to one another.

This rivalry between Lakers and Clippers still lives on today whilst under the same roof at Staples.

By @FitsEly

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