On Friday night at Staples Center, the Lakers and Clippers will face off for the second time this season, and Los Angeles' long-time second-tier franchise is in a position to take a 2-0 series lead over its more glorious, more celebrated neighbor.
That alone makes the game a must-watch.
But it's the fact that the Clippers are poised to compete over and perhaps win the future that's the most startling fact in their now very real rivalry.
Since moving to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have been mostly an NBA doormat. That lowly reality has only been more acutely felt by Clippers fans because of their team's proximity to one of the league's shiniest, brightest objects: the Lakers of Kareem and Magic, of Shaq and Kobe, of Kobe and Phil.
The Lakers have won eight titles since the Clippers arrived in the city of stars and could-have-beens. The Clippers, by comparison, have only made the playoffs five times during that stretch
There are a lot of reasons for that discrepancy, but ...