If the NBA decides to eliminate conferences for this year’s playoffs, it could clear the way for a Finals matchup between the Lakers and Clippers, which Hall-of-Famer Jerry West believes would be the “ultimate competition,” relays Melissa Rohlin of Sports Illustrated. West, a Clippers consultant who spent decades with the Lakers as a player, coach and executive, discussed the possibility during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.
“I think in Los Angeles, they have so many Laker fans. My goodness,” West said. “The enormous success that the Lakers have had over the years, they are a really good team now, two of the best players we’ve seen in a long time on one team. I think it would be incredible for the people in the west. I’m not sure how that would go over for the teams back east who want to see their respective teams get an opportunity to play.”
West would like to see all teams play nine or 10 more games before the playoffs begin. He also supports having two bubble sites, putting all the Western teams in Las Vegas and the Eastern teams in Orlando.
There’s more from L.A.:
- Lakers guard Alex Caruso believes the rivalry between the two franchises is more important to the fans than the players. He discussed the dynamics involved during an appearance on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe (hat tip to Silver Screen and Roll). “That’s not to diminish how big of a rivalry the battle for L.A. is, just in a sense of history and how long it’s been a Clippers vs. Lakers thing,” Caruso said. “But them being as good as they are this year doesn’t add any more, I don’t know … I feel bad saying it because it’s obviously one of the biggest matchups and names in the game playing against each other, but I’m sort of robotic in the sense of ‘this is another game.’ I know what they’re gonna bring, and we gotta know what we’re gonna bring to prepare for it.”
- Although Anthony Davis‘ preference to play power forward is well known, the Lakers will probably need him at center in the most important moments of the playoffs, writes Pete Zayas of The Athletic.
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been “Doc on demand” as a motivational speaker during the hiatus, notes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Rivers’ appearances have included virtual meetings with three NFL teams, the Bears, Rams and Colts.