clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ty Lue calls Lakers-Clippers on Wednesday ‘first meaningful game’ between two teams

The Lakers and Clippers are set for a huge game on Wednesday, one that Ty Lue described as the “first meaningful” one between the two franchises.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

As much as the Clippers have spent most of the last two decades finally operating as something other than an unserious franchise, a rivalry has not formed with the Lakers. Most of that has been because the Lakers were tanking for many of those years, though even then, they won a title while the Clippers spent that entire timeframe actually trying.

The one time the two teams nearly crossed paths in a meaningful way, the Clippers choked entirely in the bubble as the Lakers won the championship.

Wednesday, then, marks one of the few times the two teams have met with very real consequences on the line. While the Lakers were getting set to play Utah on Tuesday on the front end of a back-to-back, the Clippers were preparing for the Los Angeles showdown and spoke about it, including head coach Ty Lue.

Look, this might be a debate of semantics between “meaningful” and “consequential,” but it certainly feels like the two teams have had meaningful games before. The game just before the league shut down to COVID, for example, felt pretty meaningful. It’s hard to call their meeting in the bubble meaningful considering how weird the circumstances were, but there are also numerous Christmas Day games that felt meaningful to some degree.

Perhaps Lue is only talking about games he’s been head coach for which, in that case, he has a better point. At the end of the day, regardless of semantics, it is a really, really big game.

Ivica Zubac, who has spent his whole career on one side or the other of this series, called it the most important game he’s been in between the two teams, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“I think this is the most important game that I’ve been in with the Lakers [and] Clippers. You can feel it now. It’s gonna be biggest game of the season for both teams. I can’t wait.”

On top of this going a long way in effectively determining who finishes ahead of who in the playoff standings, there’s also the very notable subplot of Russell Westbrook. Without putting all the blame on him, he played a big role in the Lakers being below the play-in race all season and the Clippers have plummeted since he joined them.

In fact, with Westbrook on the team, the Lakers had a 25-30 record. Since moving across the hallway, the Clippers have an 8-10 record. His personal win-loss record on the year is 33-40, a .452 win percentage, between the two teams. Combined without him, the Lakers and Clippers have a 48-36 (.571) record. Obviously, there are a lot of factors between the two teams impacting that record, but it’s another peak at an obvious storyline that’s going to exist in this game.

And regardless of how good or bad the teams are with or without him, this game will make all of that irrelevant. Whoever wins here will have the last laugh.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Silver Screen & Roll Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Los Angeles Lakers news from Silver Screen & Roll