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Pro Basketball | CLIPPER REPORT

If It's a Rivalry, Someone Better Tell the Lakers

November 20, 2001|Elliott Teaford

Rivalry? Did someone dare suggest the Lakers and Clippers are truly rivals under the same roof?

The first of four games between Staples Center's NBA tenants is designated as a home game for the Clippers, but you know what that will mean once the game begins.

Most of the fans will probably cheer loudest for the team that happens to be leading on the scoreboard.

The Lakers lead the all-time series, 112-37, probably the most significant reason this "rivalry" has been a dud over the years. No question, USC-UCLA ignites more passion among the citizenry. Then again, the King-Mighty Duck and the Dodger-Angel rivalries have been far more heated than the Lakers and Clippers.

Playing in the same arena doesn't help matters either, according to Clipper Coach Alvin Gentry.

"It's a building we both play in," Gentry said, discounting the notion of a home-court advantage for either team. "It doesn't really matter if we play on the red [Clipper] floor or the purple [Laker] floor. We dress in our usual locker rooms. The only difference is which bench we sit on when we're the visiting team."

With that said, Gentry added that he hopes the Clippers get a lift from their fans tonight.

"With all the season tickets we've sold, I would hope we would have the crowd on our side because it's our home game," he said, referring to the more than 12,000 season ticket-holders.

*

Another day without Lamar Odom ...

The Clippers heard nothing from the NBA about Odom's reinstatement. He was suspended Nov. 5 for a minimum of five games for violating the terms of the league's antidrug policy.

Tonight's game will be the Clippers' eighth without Odom, who might have been sidelined anyway because of a bruised left foot. Odom is eligible to practice with the team, but he did not Monday because of his injured foot.

*

Gentry continues to marvel at Kobe Bryant.

"One thing about Kobe is that he's done such a good job of getting his points without being selfish," Gentry said. "He's stayed within the Lakers' system. The guy can put up some huge numbers. He has the ability to lead the league in scoring if he wanted to do that.

"When you win, all of a sudden a player has the tendency to believe the system is more important than individual statistics. Obviously, there's harmony now within their players. A pecking order has been established."

TONIGHT

Lakers at Clippers, 7:30, Ch. 9

Site--Staples Center.

Radio--KLAC (570), KMPC (1540).

Records--Lakers 8-1, Clippers 5-5.

Season series (2000-01)--Lakers, 3-1.

Update--Four of the Clippers' five starters are averaging in double figures in points, led by power forward Elton Brand's 21.8. The Clipper bench carried them to a victory Sunday over the New York Knicks, Quentin Richardson scoring 20 points on nine-of-10 shooting. Earl Boykins added 11 points. In addition to playing without Odom, the Clippers also will be without backup point guard Keyon Dooling (sprained left ankle).

Tickets--(800) 462-2849.

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