Thanks to three straight victories and five wins in their last six games, the Los Angeles Lakers have climbed over .500 and are beginning to resemble a potential Western Conference contender.
However, while the Lakers have struggled their Staples Center co-tenants, the Clippers, have gotten out to an 8-5 start after consecutive wins over two of the NBA’s best, the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors.
Head coach Doc Rivers’ team has been impressive so far, but hardly anyone has been talking about them. Some of that has to do with a lack of major stars on the Clippers roster, but much of it also has to do with the extreme star power on the Lakers brought in by LeBron James.
Despite that, Rivers isn’t surprised, nor does he blame people for focusing more on the Lakers than the Clippers so far, as he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
Asked what people might be missing with the Clippers considering all the attention in LA is on the Lakers, Doc Rivers said the Clippers are “fun” to watch and will compete. But he also said he doesn’t blame people focusing more on the Lakers because “the Lakers have LeBron James.”
Even when the Lakers were near the bottom of the standings and the Clippers were a playoff constant they always felt like the secondary L.A. team. Much of that has to do with the history of the two franchises as the Lakers developed a strong, passionate, loyal fan base thanks to 16 championships.
Meanwhile, the Clippers have yet to make an appearance on the conference finals. And when a franchise like the Lakers adds one of the greatest players in NBA history like James, most teams become secondary, especially ones in the same building.
Rivers understands this which is why he isn’t bothered by it, as he should be much more worried about the Lakers quickly looking to pass them in the standings.