The NBA schedule is out and fans were exposed to the key dates including the LA Lakers and LA Clippers, but is the Battle of LA dead? The matchup between the two Angeleno heavyweights had the city buzzing in the 2019-20 season. Especially considering the Clippers’ acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Additionally, the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis in the same offseason. Consequently, the NBA media hyped the battle between the two as a marquee matchup throughout the year. The first season with all three new stars and Lakers forward LeBron James lived up to the hype. But as of late, the games have been watered down a tad. Or have they?
Is the Battle of LA Dead?
The last seven matchups between the Lakers and Clippers saw the latter as the victor. Following the 2019-20 season, injuries plagued the star-studded affair in almost every game after. The last time Leonard, George, James, and Davis all played was the 2020-21 season opener. The Clippers started their seven-game winning streak against their crosstown rival on ring night and did not look back.
The win streak is nice, but it almost feels empty since not all the stars were able to play. The last two matchups in the 2020-21 season saw the Clippers winning in convincing fashion. However, the Lakers did not have James or Davis in either matchup due to injury. While the season sweep was nice for fans, it would have meant more if the Clippers were able to do so against two of the best players in the league. Nonetheless, a win is a win. Therefore, taking a victory is nothing to sour over.
The 2021-22 matchup was the same song with a different tune as the season prior. The first matchup was the most star-studded one as the Lakers boasted their new point guard, Russell Westbrook, along with James and Davis. On the other side, the Clippers had George and their supporting cast. The Clippers ended up winning in a close finish that saw Luke Kennard hit five threes and a dagger three from Marcus Morris, who led the way with 21 points.
The following matchup was a thriller to end the game that saw a Westbrook to Davis alley-oop late in the game. Later on, we would see Reggie Jackson’s infamous “skip” to a double-team split for the game-winner. The atmosphere was unreal that game as the Lakers fans erupted over the alley-oop, only to be topped by Clipper Nation during the game-winner. Though George and James did not play, the game was well worth the price of admission.
The next game did not feature top stars from either team in Davis, Leonard and George. However, the game was nothing short of entertaining as Morris and Jackson poured in 29 and 25 points, respectively. Morris came up clutch once again as he hit a tough, contested mid-range jumper to give the Clippers the lead late.
The final matchup of the 2021-22 season was a blowout victory for the Clippers but there was still some spice to it. Westbrook and Jackson got into it and even saw Westbrook try to trip the Clippers’ point guard. However, Jackson would have the last laugh. He finished with 36 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds.
One might say that the Battle of LA is dead. Apart from the 2020-21 season, there have been plenty of entertaining games. The fans may not agree that it is dead as each victory for their squad brings bragging rights and internet quarrels. The 2019-20 season saw box office matchups throughout the season following the explosive offseason. Additionally, the 2021-22 season saw sparks between the two even with multiple stars injured. We may never truly get the Battle of LA in the postseason. Or maybe we will. But with a fresh campaign approaching and stars appearing healthy, the fans should be pumped for all four upcoming matchups between LA’s finest.