Clippers are now the kings of LA says Stephen A

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith has grown sick and tired of this so-called “rivalry” between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers.

At one point, despite sharing the same building with one another for decades, the Clippers, often viewed as the less glamorous side of Arena, were pushed to the shadows as they were continually mired in basketball purgatory. The purple and gold, on the other hand, were perpetual championship contenders, consistent playoff entrants, and often drenched their locker room in Champaign following a long title run.

Yet, regardless of their record-setting 17 championship banners and in spite of the historic figures that have donned a Lakers uniform over the years, Smith believes that their time on top of LA’s prestigious mountain is over.

“The Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in LA,” said Smith recently on an episode of First Take.

After being viewed as a prohibited favorite to not only emerge from the treacherous Western Conference last season but also lift their 18th Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Lakers were a bitter disappointment.

The Clippers have owned the Lakers for a longtime now

Anthony Davis, their All-Star level big man, played uninspiring throughout much of the year. Even with averages across the board that consisted of 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds, Davis failed to have a winning impact in LA. In addition to his declining numbers, Davis suffered through countless injuries, resulting in only 40 games played on the year.

Russell Westbrook, their newly acquired All-Star, failed to live up to the hype that was levied onto his shoulders. His once explosive drives to the basket dissipated, his inability to finish at the rim became noticeable, and his propensity for throwing the ball to the wrong team became a detriment to their overall success. LeBron James, in his 19th season in the league, played terrifically. The perpetual MVP contender finished second in the league in scoring, finishing with just a hair over 30 points per game.

Still, despite his heroics, James was unable to lift his ball club to much success, ending the season with a 33-49 record. Additionally, to add fuel to Smith’s fire, the Lakers went 0-3 against the Clippers this past season, increasing their overall losing streak to their down-the-hall rivals to seven and pushing their record against the Clippers over their past 39 games to just 7-32.

Considering their head-to-head record, tenuous play and the returns of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George next season, Smith is incredulous to anyone who continues to push the narrative that the Lakers and Clippers are entrenched in some sort of rivalry. In his view, it’s anything but that.

“It’s not even a damn rivalry. The Los Angeles Lakers are fair-weathered stepchildren to the Los Angeles Clippers.”

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