With both L.A. teams struggling, there’s a new blockbuster showdown in the Western Conference: Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors. Is this a troubling trend or a blip on the radar for the power of L.A.?
Both L.A. teams struggling
The battle for L.A. used to be a blockbuster, but it’s different this season. Kawhi Leonard is out indefinitely due to an injury. Without him, the Clips sit at 7th place in the Western Conference with an 11-11 record, losing their last three games. Meanwhile, the Lakers’ fate had been almost the same. LeBron James only played 11 games so far after facing different health issues this season, most recently a COVID scare. The Lakers are 12-11, only a game ahead of their rivals.
LeBron James is cleared to return, but it remains to be seen if he will play against the Clippers. The Lakers and Clippers still parade a star-studded lineup, but it’s no fun to watch struggling teams go at it. It’s up to Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Eric Bledsoe to make things exciting for the fans. Meanwhile, there are the new best of the West.
The new best of the West
With the recent slide of both L.A. teams and stars missing out on games, it’s natural the fans’ attention will shift to more intriguing matchups. The Phoenix Suns have been impressive lately. They have not lost in November en route to an 18-game winning streak. After reaching the Finals last season, a lot of experts claim the team just got lucky, but with the play they are showcasing, the Suns are proving it was not a fluke.
The Warriors have also exceeded expectations. No one expected them to be this good before Klay’s return. Steph Curry has once again carried the team on his back, as the 18-3 Warriors sit as the two seed in the West. The mouthwatering matchup of the GSW-PHX game prompted ESPN to drop the scheduled Lakers-Clippers game in favor of Devin Booker vs. Steph Curry. Former player Richard Jefferson could not help but react.
If the Lakers and Clippers don’t shape up soon, they are in danger of falling out with fans this year. For now, the L.A. rivalry takes a back seat to make way for the new best of the West.