The April 4th matchup will be the second between the two sides this season, as they went head-to-head on the opening day of the ongoing campaign. The LA Clippers were close winners that time around.
This time an injury-threatened LA Lakers might struggle to keep up with their city rivals once again.
The cross-town rivalry was, in truth, not even born until 1984; the LA Lakers relocated to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1960, and the LA Clippers relocated from San Diego in 1984.
The LA Clippers spent decades in their city rivals’ shadow, although they have been the arguably better side in recent years. The narrative might have changed again to some extent in the last two years due to the arrival of LeBron James and the championship that the LA Lakers won last season.
On that note, let's take a look at five of the greatest matches played between the two teams over the years.
#1 LA Lakers 108-103 LA Clippers (November 24th, 1984)
In November 1984, the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers played what was their first-ever NBA match as city rivals.
The LA Lakers were extremely dominant and were led by the duo of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The match had the then-largest LA Clippers’ home court crowd of almost 15,000.
The LA Lakers had won two titles in the previous decade, while the LA Clippers had marketed themselves as the 'People’s team'. This was on account of multiple factors, most notably the fact that the LA Clippers had comprehensively cheaper tickets and were the firm underdogs as far as the two teams' rivalry was concerned.
The LA Lakers won 108-103, as the match heralded the birth of one of the biggest cross-town rivalries in sports.
#2 LA Clippers 120-109 LA Lakers (January 24th, 1986)
For the first two years of their rivalry, the LA Lakers went undefeated against the LA Clippers.
The LA Lakers had gotten into a habit of having more fans for every match compared to their rivals, something that had much to do with the two teams’ respective success.
The LA Clippers had to wait until January 1986 to register their first-ever win over their illustrious rivals.
It came in the absence of Magic Johnson, as 5-time All-Star Marques Johnson registered 22 points and eight assists to lead his side to a historic victory. It was a rare win against the then defending champions, who had won three titles in five years.
It wasn’t until 1992 that the LA Clippers had their first playoff run, which brought some semblance of competitiveness between the two sets of fans.
#3 LA Clippers 102-94 LA Lakers (January 12th, 2012)
In one of the biggest botched trades of the NBA, the LA Lakers were under the impression they had acquired Chris Paul from the New Orleans Pelicans at the start of the 2011-12 NBA season. However, the deal was vetoed by David Stern, leading to the Clippers swooping in a few days later and getting their man.
It was an iconic moment that came during the initial years of Blake Griffin’s LA Clippers’ career. The two teams were involved in multiple high-temper matchups that season, with their first such match coming in January 2012.
Kobe Bryant’s 42-point performance went in vain, as a double-double from Blake Griffin and a valuable 33-point performance from Chris Paul led the LA Clippers to a 102-94 victory.
#4 LA Clippers 105:95 LA Lakers (November 2nd, 2012)
It was arguably the first time since the LA Clippers shifted to the city that the team had a fair shot at winning the NBA title.
The LA Clippers had signed the likes of Ronny Turiaf, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom and Caron Butler. The new acquisitions were in addition to the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who formed the core of the team.
In arguably the most memorable win the LA Clippers inflicted on their rivals, the LA Lakers ended up losing 105-95.
They had started the season with a 0-2 record and ended up going 0-3 for the first time in 34 years. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul starred again, with former LA Lakers player Caron Butler also chipping in with 14 points.
#5 LA Clippers 142-94 LA Lakers (March 6th, 2014)
Building on the narrative that the LA Clippers have been the more successful than the LA Lakers between 2013 until 2019, the Clippers registered their biggest ever win against their cross-city rivals in March 2014.
In a high-octane regular season encounter, the LA Clippers won 142-94, a 48-point win that is the second-biggest victory they have registered in the league.
The LA Clippers were highly efficient in offense, with Blake Griffin and Darren Collison scoring more than 20 points apiece.
Overall, eight different LA Clippers players scored in double digits as the Clippers proved themselves to be the better team that season, going on to become the divisional champions as well.