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On Sunday, Clippers fans saw something they haven’t ever seen: a division title. Since the Clippers were created back in 1970 they have been known mainly as the laughing stock of the league. After a few years of bouncing around to Buffalo and then San Diego, they made Los Angeles their home.
Unfortunately for them, they had to take the backseat to Laker nation and watch as they won multiple championships. However, the tides have greatly changed in the past year in L.A. On Sunday the two L.A. teams faced off against each other in a game with huge playoff implications for both.
The Clippers handled the Lakers with ease, finishing off their season sweep of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, winning the game 109-95. This marked the first time the Clippers swept the Lakers in the regular season since 1974 when they were then known as the Buffalo Braves. Chris Paul, who will surely be up for MVP consideration this year, controlled the flow and tempo of the game as he filled up the stat sheet with 24 points, 12 assists, five rebounds, and three steals.
Paul has undoubtedly played a huge role in the Clippers turn around; since he joined the team in 2011 they have had 40 back-to-back win seasons for the first time since 1992 and now have their first 50-win season in franchise history. Despite the team’s first division title there was no celebration in Staples Center on Sunday. “It just feels like something we were supposed to do” Paul noted, “It means we’re headed in the right direction. We’re not satisfied. We understand this is something small compared to the big picture.” Winning the division guarantees a top-four seed in the playoffs for the Clips, another achievement never done before in franchise history.
On the other hand, the loss for the Lakers was a huge blow as they have now moved out of the 8th seed into 9th and as of now out of the playoffs. With the Clippers winning the division and the Lakers still fighting to just reach the playoffs it seems as if the new favorite in L.A. is the young and highflying Clippers.
Photo credit: NBA.com