This won't exactly capture the hearts of Laker fans like an NBA playoff game would. But the Lakers' two preseason games against the Clippers present some riveting story lines.
The Lakers remain L.A.'s favorite sports team because of their storied history and because they continue to showcase marquee athletes such as Kobe Bryant. The Clippers have mostly been a punchline, until Blake Griffin's monstrous dunks caught everyone's attention. The Lakers will host the Clippers at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 before switching roles two days later at the same time. Because both games are played at Staples Center and the teams have their own locker rooms at the arena, the only differences will be which team's logo is featured on the court and which is wearing the home uniforms.
Themes throughout the games won't change. We'll all wonder how many highlight-reel dunks Griffin throws down, and whether Metta World Peace gets his wish to get posterized by the Clippers star. We'll wonder if Lamar Odom will remain agitated with Griffin's motor. We'll wonder if any of Bryant's explosive drives to the basket means his surgically repaired right knee feels healthier. We'll wonder how Andrew Bynum and Chris Kaman will muscle up inside.
Finally, we'll have some interesting basketball to watch, even if the outcome doesn't matter.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Clippers dunk machine Blake Griffin works against the Lakers' Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) in a game last December. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times