The tension between the two teams was high, especially within the NBA bubble during the summer.
Lakers forward Jared Dudley, in his new book “Inside the NBA Bubble,” wrote about the trash-talking his team had to endure from the Clippers.
“We hear some of those guys talking about how they’re the team to beat in LA,” wrote Dudley. “It’s fine if Kawhi [Leonard] says stuff like that. He’s defending a championship. We don’t trip if someone like Patrick Beverley is talking trash; that’s how he feeds his family. We get it. We respect the hustle.”
Dudley also revealed the one thing about the Clippers that most irked him and his teammates.
“But we think it’s disrespectful for Paul George, who hasn’t won, to put himself on the level of Bron (LeBron James) and AD (Anthony Davis),” wrote Dudley. “This motivates us. When we see those guys around the compound, we don’t really kick it with them. The one exception of course is Markieff [Morris], whose twin brother, Marcus, is on the Clippers. This probably keeps tensions from boiling over.”
George has always been a very good player, but he’s never been considered a true superstar, partly because of his checkered history when it comes to how he’s performed in the playoffs.
The Clippers, of course, ended up ducking the Lakers by choking away a 3-1 series lead in the second round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets.
Along with the Utah Jazz, both the Lakers and the Clippers are currently the class of the Western Conference. The hype and swagger surrounding and emanating from the Clippers have calmed down, but the team is still a legitimate threat to the Lakers’ hopes of back-to-back world titles.