The battle for Los Angeles
March 4, 2021
By Michael Johnson
The battle for Los Angeles professional basketball supremacy is still not settled. I thought it might be after last week's game between the Clippers and the Washington Wizards, which the Clippers won by 19 points. I was ready to say there is a new basketball Sheriff in the City of the Angels, it's the Los Angeles Clippers. I was ready to pronounce Paul George (PG13) and Kawhi Leonard (Terminator) the most dynamic duo in the city and maybe in the NBA dethroning last year's unstoppable Lakers' tandem of LeBron James (King James) and Anthony Davis (A.D.).
I was making my case based on how superior the Clippers' played against the Wizards. I was basing it on my evaluation of each player's individual contributions and productivity and how they played collectively as a unit, most of all on how the reserves played. I thought that game was going to be one of those revealing, defining games that previewed who the Clippers really were. Granted they played the Wizards, not an elite NBA team, but they do have two bonified All Star players in Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
Everything clicked for the Clippers that night, George dominated the first half and Leonard annihilated the Wizards in the second half. They were a dynamic duo, but they weren't the whole story. The reserves played, well, not like reserves, like starters. In fact Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue played them throughout third and fourth quarters when the Wizards were challenging, and they played with skill and confidence, helping the Clippers put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Then the Clippers played a game a few days later on the road against the Memphis Grizzles, a talented young team, who routed the Clippers 122 – 94. The Clippers laid an egg, the dynamic duo combined for a paltry 30 points. However, the Clippers redeemed themselves Friday night, beating the Grizzles 119 – 99 and only one half of the dynamic duo was dynamic. Leonard scored 30 points and George scored only 13 points.
The acid test was Saturday's game with the Milwaukee Bucks and Tuesday's game against the Boston Celtics. The Clippers lost both of those games.
Even the great players have off nights and the NBA season has just reached the halfway mark. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and hopefully the Clippers can consistently fire on all cylinders with George and Leonard resuming their dynamic duo form to compete for the supremacy of professional basketball in Los Angeles.
The Clippers first game after the All-star break this weekend is at home against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m.