Friday, January 27, 2012

The Battle of Los Angeles 2012

Last night we were treated to a great basketball game in the NBA featuring hallway rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Los Angeles Clippers. Having briefly lived in LA, I follow both teams and make sure to watch their games at Staples Center whenever I'm in town. Its quite interesting to observe the basketball culture of LA. Being a "big market" team in the NBA means a lot - gate tickets, merchandise and of course tinseltown itself. SoCal is big. That's why Donald Sterling moved the Clippers from San Diego to LA when he bought the team in the early 80s. That's also the reason why the Maloofs are keen on moving the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim (although Orange County isn't exactly LA, but tell that to the Angels).

Going back to hoops, both teams are in the process of transforming themselves - the Clippers, still adjusting and getting their swagger back thanks to the signing of CP3, Mr. Big Shot and Caron Butler (and probably still have some cap space for the next season). They are definitely LA's hottest ticket right now. The Lakers, still adjusting to the Mike Brown system have the ever reliable Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. But I see a lot of changes happening after this season in their lineup. Most of the time, the Lakers are relying on Kobe, but he can't be the only offensive threat of the team. Pau did a great job offensively last night and we were even treated with a Metta World Peace sighting.

I'm excited how this season will turn out in LA. I would expect the Clippers to go to the Playoffs either as a 5th or 6th seed in the West while the Lakers will still make it but I wouldn't be surprised at all if they end up 8th.