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James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots over Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 99-95 in overtime.
After a wild ride of a season for Angelino basketball fans, both Lakers and Clippers qualified for the NBA playoffs, though in an unusual order. The Lakers, who’ve only missed the playoffs a handful of times since moving to Los Angeles, limped into the NBA postseason last night, beating Houston by two baskets in overtime, while the Clippers, historically the doormat of the league, won their seventh game in a row, clinching home-court advantage for the playoffs.
Though they barely made postseason play, the Lakers showed mettle in the final games of the 2013 season, battling back from a mountain of adversity, including injuries, win droughts, the death of their iconic owner Jerry Buss, and the loss of Kobe Bryant to an injury that could sideline him for as long as half a year.
With both teams in the postseason, talk has turned to a Clippers-Lakers “hallway series,” (which would happen in Round 3 of the playoffs), but with both teams facing stiff opposition in the first round, and Oklahoma City and Miami waiting down the road, could a hard-fought season end unceremoniously for Los Angeles’ teams?
Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times sports reporter