Nearly 24 years after the Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960, the Clippers elected to uproot their franchise from San Diego to move north to Los Angeles. This gave the cities’ residents a choice of who would be the No. 1 team in L.A. When Staples Center opened its doors in 1999, both teams settled into the new arena and the rivalry ensued between the co-tenants.
Though the Lakers boast 16 championship banners that hang from the rafters of Staples Center at each Lakers’ home game, the more recent numbers tell a different story. The reality is that the Clippers have won the last 22 out of 25 matchups against the Lakers. A fact that many Angelenos might not know. In fact, many forget that the Clippers are a Los Angeles team.
“I love it,” Harrell emphatically stated following the Lakers’ 118-107 loss inside Staples Center on Friday, Dec. 28. “Because they already don’t recognize us as a so-called LA team, but we don’t really care about that.
“But we want y’all to know that we’re the LA Clippers,” Harrell continued. “That means Los Angeles Clippers, man. So there’s two teams in LA.
“Y’all try to overlook us, just because of everybody in that purple and gold and the history of it. Yeah, I respect that. But that don’t mean s*** to me.”
Harrell’s fiery rant garnered some controversy, but the 24-year-old Clippers’ center had a point. He tallied 12 points for the Clippers along with four rebounds off the bench as he continues to be a spark for the Clippers’ second unit.
With the help of Harrell and Lou Williams, the Clippers lead the NBA in bench scoring. Williams, who had 23 points in the second half, finished with a game-high 36 off the bench. The Clippers’ bench combined for 71 points, more than all five starters (47).
The Lakers were without star LeBron James and veterans Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. The Lakers closed out the first half on a 16-7 run as Lonzo Ball banked in a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 54-48 lead. Lou Williams, at the other end, hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to cut the Lakers’ lead 54-51.
The Lakers accumulated 13 second-half turnovers that translated to 23 points for the Clippers. Though the Lakers led by as many as ten points in the second half, the Clippers went on a 22-0 run to end the third quarter that carried over to start the fourth. It gave the Clippers a 16-point advantage with less than five minutes in the teams’ first meeting of the season.
The Lakers will have an opportunity to disrupt their co-tenant’s streak and even the season series record on Jan. 31 when the Clippers host them.