Los Angeles is a Lakers town, and anyone living in Southern California understands that.
But what happened on Friday night at Staples Center in front of 18,997 fans was no mirage, it was reality. Let's just pretend to look at this L.A. showdown through something other than the purple and gold-colored goggles that Los Angelinos tend to wear whenever the debate arises.
We all know about the 16 NBA championships and the long list of Hall-of-Famers that have donned the Lakers' uniform. Similarly, it doesn't take a long look back in the annals of NBA history to see just how bad the Clippers have been for a very long period of time.
But things change, and one of the things that has changed most recently is the culture within both franchises. The Clippers are wide-eyed and wet behind the ears -- use any cliche to describe how young and full of potential they are. The Lakers look old and lethargic.
What's worse is they look like they just don't care -- everyone but Kobe Bean Bryant, of course.
"These things take time"
There's a built-in irony in this latest mantra from the Lakers. An aging, ailing Bryant and a 38-year-old point guard along with the rest of the 30-somethings on the roster don't have a lot of time to figure things out. Bryant was combative in his defense of the Princeton offense that everyone's been so critical of through three bad losses early in the year. He was quick to point out that he knows more about basketball than most people have forgotten.
But it's difficult to forget three losses and an average of 19.3 turnovers per game.
Lakers fans don't know how to be patient (one of 50 reasons SB Nation's own Tom Ziiller says you should hate the team), so with the third consecutive bad loss on Friday comes the requisite clamoring for blowing up the team, firing the coach and changing venues.
Maybe that last one was a stretch, but in Laker-land, anything is possible.
The Clippers are better
Doesn't a rivalry have to be fairly evenly matched? For those that saw the Lakers' debacle vs. their co-tenants at Staples Center in front of their own fans, the game was anything but a fair fight. The Clippers made them look silly and exposed every weakness imaginable.
Watching the Lakers' bench try to match up with perhaps the deepest team in the league was laughable. On Friday, they were outscored 46-16. Forty-six to 16? That sounds like the score from a lopsided high school girls' game. Unfortunately for the Lakers, it was just as hard to watch.
The Clippers currently have the edge over the Lakers in the following areas: Bench scoring, perimeter defense, athleticism, continuity, ball security and youth.