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Lakers vs. Clippers Preview: Will the best team in L.A. come out on top?

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The Clippers are the best team in L.A., but the Lakers could win the season series on Friday.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In August, before the regular season started, LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley made the controversial claim that the Clippers, not the LeBron James-led Lakers, were the best team in Los Angeles.

Had Beverley said that a few years ago when the Clippers had Chris Paul, JJ Redick, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and the Lakers had Nick Young, Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer, maybe his comments wouldn’t have been met with so much criticism, but it was hard to buy into that argument before this season started.

How was a team whose best player was Tobias Harris supposed to make the playoffs, especially when said team had every incentive to miss them? As it turns out, it wasn’t that unimaginable, and Beverley might be able to see the future.

With three games left in the regular season, the Clippers have secured a spot in the Western Conference playoffs and are 15 games above .500 despite losing their leading scorer at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the Lakers hold the 10th-worst record in the league and three of their regular starters have been shut down for the season, with a fourth casualty (Kyle Kuzma) likely on the way.

The Clippers will come into Staples Center looking for a win to try and climb up the standings. If the season ended on Friday, the Clippers would see James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the first round. A loss on Friday would increase their odds of seeing one of the Denver Nuggets or Golden State Warriors in the first round.

The Lakers, on the other hand, will be hoping to stay in the bottom-10, which would give them a 13.9 percent chance of landing a top-four pick, according to Tankathon. With new teams entering the tank party late, let’s hope the Lakers can fight the other teams off.

Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Christian on Twitter at @RadRivas.