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Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers on court during the game at Staples Center.
Yesterday, Laker center Chris Kaman discussed the prospects that the Clippers (his former team for seven seasons) would become “L.A.’s team” with Times basketball reporter Mike Bresnahan: "I respect what they're doing and what they've done, but still, they're nothing like the Lakers. You look up here at all the championships. They're never going to have that. It's never going to happen. I don't see it.”
Kaman’s opinion is a common refrain among NBA fans in Southern California, but if the future is anything like the near past, those could just be famous last words. Last season, the once-lowly Clippers swept the Lakers in the four games they played in their shared Staples Center home by an average of 13 points.
Combine that fact with the Clippers acquisition of coach Doc Rivers this summer, and the general sense that the Lakers are heading for the kind of season that fans of storied franchises don’t approve of, and you see how Kaman could one day be walking his words back. Or will he?
Tonight will be the first step in that long journey, as the Clippers take on the Lakers on this, the opening day of the NBA’s 2013-14 season. The Staples Center will be decked out in purple and gold tonight, but if pundits and prognosticators are right about this season, the momentum could be with the red, white, and blue.
Kevin Arnovitz, host of ESPN’s Clippers Podcast
A. Martinez, host of ESPN’s Lakersline and co-host of KPCC’s Take Two