November 3, 2012

Battle For Supremacy: Los Angeles

By - Jaquan Murphy

This week, we begin a series spotlighting regional rivalries in the NBA where two or more teams are battling for domination of one city or state.

There's nothing better than an area torn between two hometown teams battling not only for a win, but for bragging rights in general. The right to say, "we are the best team in town."

First up, let's discuss two teams not only battling for a city, but for an arena as well.

Photo by: Getty Images
The Clippers and the Lakers have battled to be the best team in the Staples Center for a long time. For years, the Lakers have mercilessly beat the Clippers into the ground, treating them like a run of the mill D-League team.

However, these are not your parents Clippers anymore.

This group is not the team of the 90s and early 2000s that could not compete with some NCAA clubs. This team is the real deal.

Led by all-star point guard Chris Paul and rising star Blake Griffin, the Clippers bring in a formidable team that can and will compete in the Western Conference.

Paul is paired with sharpshooter Jamal Crawford and veteran Caron Butler on the wing. Griffin's partner on the front line is 7-foot defensive stopper DeAndre Jordan.

Not only do the Clippers have a solid starting five, but they have a bench capable of keeping them in games when the starters are resting.

Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, and Eric Bledsoe can come off the bench and keep things rolling, or possibly spark a momentum swing of their own. They also can call on Ronny Turiaf and Willie Green to come in off the pine and produce for them.

The biggest factor that plays in the Clippers favor for an extended run this year is knowing the ace they have up their sleeve -- Chauncey Billups.

Billups will be healthy and ready to return to the floor between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That should set up a happy holiday season indeed for the Clips. A leader, floor general, and legit scoring threat, "Mr. Big Shot" could be the deciding factor in how far the Clippers really go in the postseason.

Battling the Clippers for control of the home locker room are the Lakers.

Although aging, they are far from a group of old has-beens. They are still led by one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, Kobe Bryant. They also have Pau Gasol, who at times can be thrown into the conversation of top 5 power forwards in the league. They added one of the top point guards in all of basketball in Steve Nash, and in a move to win now and build for the future, traded for arguably the best big man in the league, Dwight Howard.

Howard's rank among big men is up for debate, but there is no debating that his acquisition gives Kobe the best big man he has played alongside since his championship days with Shaquille O'Neil.

There is no doubting that the Lakers starting five is one of the most dangerous in the league, but there is plenty of doubt surrounding their bench. They feature an aged Antawn Jamison as their sixth man, and surround him with a group of national no-names -- unless you followed them on a prior team.

Last year's starting point, Steve Blake, will run the offense for the second unit, and will be joined by Jodie Meeks, Devin Ebanks, and Jordan Hill. Clearly, there is no real big time name on the bench, making it a point of concern when the older starters need a break.

With all that said, the question still remains -- who is the best in the Staples Center? Is Los Angeles Lob City, or is the arena still home of the Lake Show?

After long and careful deliberation, I've decided L.A. is still the Lakers town, but not by much.

Granted, the Clippers have taken giant steps in the right direction, and they are not far from becoming the kings of the city, but they are still a year or two away.

Although they are much older than the Clippers, the Lakers can out-wit the younger, inexperienced group. The Lakers trot out a starting five that know how to win. They also have a lineup laced with all-stars and potentially two Hall-of-Famers in Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. They can even boast that they have a player that ranks in the top 5 at their position in four out of the five spots.

The Clippers youth and depth will give the Lakers problems, showing that the bridge is quickly closing between the two teams. CP3 and Blake will give them all that they can handle, but when it comes down to the wire, #24 will find a way to get the win for the Lakers. Plus, the addition of Nash takes some of the pressure off of Kobe, because there is someone else who can knock down a shot late with the game on the line.

As of right now, the Lakers are still the toast of the town. But they should sip and savor -- because the Clippers are coming fast.


  1. You clownin brah. LA will always belong to the Lakers.

  2. Lakers gonna go 0-82 this year lmao