Originally posted on Laker Nation  |  Last updated 1/4/13
Every week, our staff writers chime in on the trending topics, rumors and storylines surrounding the Lakers. In today’s State of the Nation, they take a look at tonight’s crosstown match-up with the Pacific leading Clippers. True or False: The Lakers will finish the season as the best team in L.A.Photo Credit: Getty ImagesRobert Benitez // @beeb0:True. The Lakers may not have the better record at the end of the regular season, but they’ll still be the best team in L.A. come playoff time.James Cypert // @JamesCypert:False. That 17-game win streak that the Clippers had throughout December? The streak alone had two more wins than the Lakers have had over the entire season. If the Lakers are going to finish as the top team in Los Angeles, they’re going to have to first overcome a 10-game deficit to the co-tenants of the Staples Center.Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:False. The fan in me says the Lakers will finish above the Clippers, but just based on their current state of play, I just can’t. … Well, for now. Let’s revisit in mid-February.Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:True. The Clippers-curse prevails. The Lakers will definitely not be able to catch the Clippers in the regular season, but the playoffs are a different animal. The Lakers’ savvy veteran experience and advantage inside will prove vital come playoff time.John Gaffer // @jewelslamo:False. This Lakers team simply cannot match the Clips team speed, athletic ability, and most importantly, their depth.Belal Abdelfattah // @Belal_A:True. But only if that that includes the postseason. While it may be too late to catch the Clips in the division, the Lakers will be the better team when it’s all said and done. Better Duo this season: Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, or Chris Paul and Blake Griffin?Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:Through the first few months of this season, it’s been Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Despite Kobe Bryant’s stellar play this season (30.3 ppg | 5.4 rpg | 4.7 apg | 47.9 FG%), Dwight Howard has been relatively inconsistent on both ends of the floor.Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson:Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Sorry my fellow Lakers fans, the truth must be told. Howard’s not there yet and it hurting Lakers.Oren Levy // @LakersOren:Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Kobe has been a one man wrecking ball for LA, but Dwight has yet to have a consistent impact this season. 31 games in, and I can’t think of a single game Dwight “won” for LA. Paul and Griffin have anchored a team with a 17 game win streak. They win this round.Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. That tandem is one of the most exciting and thrilling in the entire NBA, with lobs coming in from nowhere and Griffin always being there to throw it down. Griffin and Paul seem to be winning the race of best duo in the NBA.Matevz Rojc // @MatevzRojc:Right now, it’s CP3 and Earthquake Blake, because they know each other better, while Howard and Bryant aren’t really a Duo yet. Howard actually plays better with Nash, and his inconsistency sometimes costs the Lakers games. Hallway Playoff Series: Who wins?Photo Credit: Getty ImagesJames Cypert // @JamesCypert:Lakers. Lakers loyalists have made it clear all season that this team is built for the playoffs rather than the regular season. With the playoff experience of this year’s roster, you’d have to point to the Lakers and their half-court offense to slow down the Clippers. Of course, the Lakers would first need to make the playoffs for us to even have this discussion.Emil Rivera // @e_double_r75:Lakers. If these two teams meet in the playoffs, I’m still going to say Lakers.  Lakers are built for playoff basketball.  That’s not discounting the Clippers and what they have done, but I doubt Kobe Bryant will walk off of the Staples Center floor in defeat to the Clippers.Belal Abdelfattah // @Belal_A:The Fans. We would all win just by getting to watch that series. The Lakers are built for the postseason with their size and skill, so they get the edge over the deeper, but more inexperienced, Clippers squad.Oren Levy // @LakersOren:Lakers. Despite the Clippers’ success this season, playoff series have a way of getting gritty and physical, and the Lakers have more size, more strength, and more grit. Oh, and Metta World Peace.Melvin Taylor // @PastPossible30:Lakers… IF Dwight Howard is healthy. No matter what anybody says a healthy Dwight Howard is too dominate to contain, combine that with Kobe’s high level of play and we have both deciding factors solved. Looking Ahead: If you had to choose, would you rather have the next 3 Clipper seasons, or the last 3 Laker seasons?Melvin Taylor // @PastPossible30:The Clippers. With the team chemistry they’re developing, combined with their players improving every year, it’s hard to pass the Clippers up. The Lakers have too many older core players, and too much uncertainty when it comes to building around Dwight Howard.Anna Gonda // @AnnaLBG:I’ll have to take the Clippers’ next three seasons. They’re channeling that OKC Thunder up-and-coming bravado right now and if they can keep it up, who’s to say they won’t follow in the same path of success as Kevin Durant and company?James Cypert // @JamesCypert:Not including this year, you have to pick the last three Lakers seasons including their NBA title in 2010. A guaranteed title is worth infinitely more than a Clippers team that, if things don’t go smoothly down the stretch and into the playoffs, may lose Chris Paul to free agency at the end of the season.Matevz Rojc // @MatevzRojc:I expect the Clippers to play in the Western Conference Finals in each of the next 3 seasons. The Lakers have lost in the 2nd round in the last two post seasons. I’d take the next 3 Clippers seasons.Emil Rivera // @e_double_r75:You never look back.  If what the Clippers have done thus far is an indication of what’s to come, then I’d take the next 3 Clipper seasons. Lakers vs. Clippers, Friday, 7:30pm PT: Who wins Round 2?Photo Credit: Getty ImagesJohn Gaffer // @jewelslamo:There’s more at stake in this game for the Lakers. They come out, play with championship level intensity and hang one on Clippers.Bummi Anderson // @BummiNAnderson:Lakers will hand Clippers their 3 straight loss. I believe Lakers will come to play, particularly Howard.Belal Abdelfattah // @Belal_A:The Lakers need this win to get them rolling heading into a January schedule that includes Miami, OKC and the Spurs. Dwight comes out and has his best game of the season, Lakers by 7.Oren Levy // @LakersOren:The Lakers consistently have 2-3 minute lapses on defense, during which teams score 10-15 points. The Clippers have a very potent offense, and a great scoring punch off the bench, so any lapses in attention would be lethal. The Clippers take the battle Friday night.Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia:Coming off a tough loss to the 76ers, The Lakers will come out with a ton of energy and will power. However, The Clippers will once again prove to be too young and fresh for the aging Lakers and will win Round 2 at Staples Center.Alex Lambeth // @AlexLambeth:Lakers. This one could get physical. The Clippers enter this hallway matchup on a two-game losing streak, after their recent 17-game winning streak. Although the Lakers are not playing their best basketball either, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard should help the Lakers eek out a win.The post 5 Questions for Lakers vs. Clippers appeared first on Laker Nation.
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