Every game at Staples is a home gameJared Dudley
This was the match-up we’ve been waiting for. The two best teams in the west, who not only play in the same city, but in the same arena, were both at full strength as they battled it out on the Staples Center floor. While the world is focused on the coronavirus and COVID-19 (as we should be), we were all distracted for a few hours with some great, prime-time basketball.
Ever since the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis and the Clippers got Kawhi and PG, we all knew that each match-up would be prime-time, must-see-TV. The Lakers were looking for their first win against the Clippers this season after losing on opening day AND on Christmas day. Now, we all know that this is just the regular season, but it’s not a good look getting swept by a team that is beneath you in the standings.
The talent on display yesterday was amazing. You have three of the top-five players in the league on the floor at the same time (Caruso, Pat Bev, and Kuzma …. 😂!) with LeBron, AD, and Kawhi, and you can argue that Paul George is top-10 (I think he’s top 20 … sorry, health matters). It was clear that these are the two best teams in the Western Conference, as if you needed any more evidence.
The Lakers were down at the half but stormed back in the 3rd, which has been their thing as of late. The 2nd half of this game was exhilarating to watch and all of us watching had the same thought “Can we please have a best-of-seven series with the Lakers and Clippers? Please and thank you!”. For the Clippers, Paul George was spectacular in the first half but slowed down as the game progressed (in typical PG fashion). Kawhi had zero assists for the first time all season, so I expect that to change if these teams meet again.
The real star of this game was LeBron James. Sure, Anthony Davis finished with more points, but LeBron has his fingerprints ALL OVER this statement win. Lebron finished the game with 28 points (7-17 shooting), 9 assists and 7 rebounds. He also shot 12-14 from the free-throw line, which was huge as LeBron is not the best FT shooter. When the game was on the line, the ball is in LeBron’s hands and when LeBron is off the court, the Lakers look like the Pelicans last year (without Jrue).
When LeBron was icing the game at the free-throw line, guess what the crowd was chanting? That’s right.
Jared Dudley said it best …. “every game at Staples is a home game”. And he’s right. Staples Center was built to house multiple teams, but it is the Lakers home. Outside, the Lakers built statues of their past champions. Inside, the Lakers have banners and retired jerseys. That history is not forgotten when the Clippers cover them up. The statues are still present when there is Clippers marketing material all around Staples for a Clippers “home game”.
The Clippers are a great team. However, they’re the 2nd best team in LA and this will always be a Lakers town.