The rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Clippers has never been fiercer than over the past couple of seasons.
The arrival of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the summer of 2019, and the circumstances of that offseason, reignited the Battle of L.A. and prompted NBA analysts to predict the two franchises would battle it out for the Western Conference’s crown.
However, it was the Lakers who hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy last summer despite the numerous bold statements from Clippers players. Jared Dudley touched on the motivation that L.A. takes from the comments of their local rivals in his new book, “Inside the NBA Bubble: A Championship Season under Quarantine.”
Dudley stirred things up saying the team considered George’s trash-talk “disrespectful” — unlike provocative words uttered by Leonard or Patrick Beverley. But the veteran forward explained he didn’t mean to say the Clippers star wasn’t entitled to his opinion, rather than his comments motivated the Lakers more than others.
“Anyone can do it,” he said. “Paul George, Kawhi. Sometimes you might say, ‘This person is allowed to talk more than that person.’ But when it comes down to it, players look for motivation.
“I played on the Clippers, so I know the difference of how we perceived them and they perceived us, the rivalry, the Lakers getting all the media attention, Clippers don’t.”
Dudley emphasized the fact he didn’t take an issue with any of George’s comments. But the forward added that considering the historical differences between the two Los Angeles franchises, his words provided the Lakers with extra motivation.
“For one, you can say whatever you want,” he said. “We know Lakers will always be L.A. The Clippers could win 10 championships in a row. It’s the history. Giving me the right? I don’t know, 14 years, 900 games, played with over 25 Hall of Famers, future head coach, future GM.
“I think I put a little bit of work in where I can talk about it. It doesn’t mean what I say is right. My comments were more about how we viewed it’s motivation. Paul George is a helluva player, MVP candidate. What he said wasn’t wrong.
“The difference is it’s a little bit different than what you see from someone like LeBron and A.D. They didn’t say anything. They said we’ll find out who the King of L.A. is on the court.”
George answers Dudley after 36-point game against Cavaliers
George is having an All-Star-caliber season, averaging 24.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists, and shooting 47.8% behind the 3-point line. And after Dudley’s books came out, he dropped 36 points in a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“God bless you, Jared Dudley,” George said after the game when asked about the Lakers veteran’s book.
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