With Kobe Bryant injured (and tweeting) and the Los Angeles Lakers reeling, the Clippers are making the most of a chance to become the city's top basketball attraction.
“This isn’t supposed to happen, it’s really throwing me off mentally,” says Los Angeles native Peter Vineland, a self-described “basketball nut” sipping a beverage at Starbucks in Sherman Oaks. “I’m sorry for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers but surprisingly happy for the Clippers.”
Vineland is talking about the reversal of fortunes that is playing out here at the start of the National Basketball Association playoffs. For years, it has been the Los Angeles Lakers dominating the postseason – winning 11 championships since 1972, including a three-peat from 2001-03. And the Los Angeles Clippers have usually been in the cellar, the team that Lakers fans such as Vineland didn’t ever watch on purpose and didn’t even want even to admit was from the same city.
This year, the Lakers barely made it to the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and scored a piddling 79 points in losing the first game of their first-round series to the San Antonio Spurs. Meanwhile, the Clippers are leading their playoff series with the Memphis Grizzlies, 2-0, and star guard Chris Paul made the game-winning shot Tuesday night with 0.1 seconds remaining, bringing a bit of Laker "Showtime" to the Clip Joint.