Lakers vs. Clippers

Clips 112 Lake Show 102

Jim Rome
October 23, 2019 - 11:01 am
LeBron James

USA Today

Categories: 

The 2019-2020 NBA season kicked off last night. And there are a couple of notes right off the top: First off, the Toronto Raptors got themselves some really big rings. Enormous rings. You better have some serious finger strength if you want to put on that ring or else your digit will snap off. 

Secondly, the Toronto Raptors aren’t exactly dead. Or should I say, extinct. HEEEYYYYYY-OOOOOO

Not when you’ve got Pascal Siakam going for 34, 18, and 5 in 38 minutes. And not when you’ve got FVV going for 34 points and 7 assists in the 130-122 overtime win over New Orleans.

Here’s another note – the Pelicans are still interesting, even without Zion. And they’ll be even more interesting when he’s back.

But really, once Zion was out, New Orleans-Toronto was going to be an appetizer for Lakers-Clippers. And I have plenty to say about that, but here’s the first thought:

There isn’t a Clippers-Lakers rivalry.

Yeah, I said it. And I’ll get to more on that later.

And here’s the other thought from that game last night: The Clippers are better than advertised.

Seriously.

As good as you thought they might be, they’re better.

I’m not here to hand out a trophy after the first night of the season. It’s ridiculous to say anything like the Clippers are going to win a title after only four teams have played a game this season, but hear me now: the Los Angeles Clippers are real. They’re legit.  They are scary. Scary as hell.

And I’m not talking about the 112-102 win over the Lakers last night. They could’ve lost that game and I still would be saying the same thing I’m saying right now, because what I’m talking about had nothing to do with the scoreboard.

The scariest thing isn’t Kawhi going for 30, 6, and 5 in his first game as a Clipper. And it’s not that he had that performance despite a slow start to the game.

And it’s not Kawhi doing things like this.

Or this.

And it’s not the fact that the Clippers looked like they were getting blown off the court in the first few minutes of the game and then came back to win by double digits.

And it’s not the fact that they have crazy depth, with a ton of shooters, and defenders, and their bench outscored the Lakers bench 60-19.

Or that they’re doing all of this without Paul George. Although that is seriously scary.

Nope, if you aren’t a Clippers fan, here’s the scariest part of last night: they’re still the Clippers.

Not the Clippers of old. But The Clippers from last year. The Clippers who gave the Warriors all they could handle in the playoffs. The Clippers who would go chest to chest with you and jaw with you. And not give an inch. What I’m saying is, they still bring the nasty, every night, hell every damn time, up the floor. Same as they ever were, except with an even more of that. 

And that team was right back out there on the floor last night. Except now they have the Finals MVP. And soon they’ll have another legit MVP candidate. They added two superstars and they’re still looking to mess you up, mentally and physically. They are looking for a fight on every possession.

The biggest story from last night wasn’t that the Clippers won, it’s that they didn’t skip a beat.

They added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and didn’t change the team’s personality. These are still the Patrick Beverley-Montrez Harrell Clippers.

I know that Kawhi and Paul are superstars and it’s their team, but the attitude is all Beverley and Harrell.

That’s why this team is so lethal. Because Kawhi and George fit perfectly into this group from a scheme standpoint, but more importantly, from a psychological standpoint.

They still have that chip on the shoulder, us against the world, we will go with you, anytime, anywhere, no matter who you are. One thing to have that sort of attitude and edge, if you’ve been overlooked, or you’re underdog; entire another, though, to have it when EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT YOU, and you’re one of the favorites to win it all.  They’ve got a bullseye on their back and they haven’t changed at all. In fact, they’ve gotten nastier; and why wouldn’t they? Still have Pat and Montrez. Did you see Pat going down the bench during a timeout and yelling at every guy?

That’s game 1. This is October. And my guy is showing up like that. He was treating that like a Finals game in June. Because Patrick Beverley treats every day like it’s a Finals game in June. Treats every freaking position like it’s late in the fourth quarter of game of the NBA Finals: my dude treats life like that. That’s just his deal. This is how this dude shows up. Every. Damn. Day. And that’s how this team showed up last night.

Even down to Kawhi blocking Dwight Howard.

It’s just one game and there will be bumps in the road, but they didn’t need time to get on the same page. They were on the same page. And they’re still short one MVP candidate.

The LA Clippers didn’t show up like the team that will be a one in the West. They showed up like the team that was an eight in the west. And they showed up looking to fight everyone for everything. They aren’t looking to be crowned, they are looking to dot some eyes, let their hands go and knock some suckers the hell out. And that’s exactly what they did to the cross town suckas. 

And that should scare the hell out everyone else in every other town.