After Kawhi Leonard joined the Clippers all eyes shifted to his ensuing matchups with LeBron James as ‘the battle for LA’ instantly became the premiere game to watch.
That same year, the Lakers would also bring in Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans while the Clippers decided to pair Leonard with Paul George. Two all star duos in Los Angeles? The excitement levels were through the roof to see which side could ‘rightfully’ call Staples Center their home.
As a result, the NBA looked to capitalize on the opportunity that they were presented with. Two title contending teams in one of their biggest markets in LA? Say no more. Opening night and Christmas day fixtures regularly featured the Lakers and Clippers battling it out.
NBA Fans Are Happy They Won’t Be Seeing LeBron James Vs. Kawhi Leonard On Opening Night Or Christmas Again
With how marketable an LA vs LA matchup is for the NBA, many fans speculated that another opening day or Christmas day bout was on the way.
However, the NBA released its full schedule and it doesn’t look like the Lakers vs. Clippers is on tap for either of those days.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 17, 2021
The NBA has dropped the Christmas Day schedule 🔥
12:00 PM EST – Hawks @ Knicks
2:30 PM EST – Celtics @ Bucks
5:00 PM EST – Warriors @ Suns
8:00 PM EST – Nets @ Lakers
10:30PM EST – Mavs @ Jazz pic.twitter.com/AkqgenStI3
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 17, 2021
Unsurprisingly, NBA fans were thrilled with the fresh slate of matchups that didn’t feature LeBron James dueling it out with Kawhi Leonard.
LA vs. LA will still be one of the best games to look out for this season as both teams are definitely in the upper echelons of the Western Conference, but it is nice to see some other games on tap for two of the biggest nights in the NBA season.
Since Kawhi, PG-13, and Anthony Davis joined their respective LA teams, the Clippers have had the Lakers’ number, winning five of their seven matchups. The last time the Lakers won was in the 2019-20 season on July 30th when the Lakers won 103-101 in the NBA’s first game in the Orlando Bubble.
After adding Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, the Lakers are hoping the power balance shifts back to them this year after being swept by the Clips last year.