It's the rubber match for Pacific Division supremacy, and perhaps even ownership of Los Angeles from San Pedro to the San Fernando Valley! The Lakers and Clippers should be primed for serious battle, between the playoff seeding at stake, the local bragging rights, and quite frankly, because they don't care much for each other. To preview this contest, we called upon Kevin Arnovitz and Jordan Heimer, host of ESPNLA.com's "The Clipper podcast." You can hear the show by clicking on the module, and a breakdown of talking points is below.
- (1:50): We examine my theory about how the Lakers only play consistently well against teams they collectively hate (the Clippers, Mavericks and Celtics) or Kobe hates (the Suns, #NeverForget).
- (3:45): Blake Griffin's annoying on-court behavior (primarily flopping, although some don't dig the post-dunk preening) is compared to Andrew Bynum's troubling behavior on and away from the hardwood.
- (11:00): Arnovitz and Heimer break down how the Clippers' once-sinking fortunes suddenly turned. In particular, the defense has suddenly improved.
- (17:50): This will be the Lakers' first game against the Clippers with Ramon Sessions in the fold. How will he fare defending Chris Paul? (And if he struggles, who picks up the slack in his place?) Can Sessions place pressure on a team that sometimes struggles in pick-and-roll coverage?
- (26:00): How do Arnovitz and Heimer expect Kobe Bryant to be defended?
- (27:20): Predictions!
- (30:00): The Clippers got their act together almost immediately upon the reinstatement of Clipper Darrell. Pure coincidence or testament to the power of a super-fan who now "understands his role?" And yes, I do find the notion of a meeting to spell out Clipper Darrell's "role" hysterically funny.