LOS ANGELES — Since 1984, the Lakers were the team everyone in Los Angeles cared about and obsessed over while the Clippers were the redheaded adopted stepson of a team that people only went to watch because the cost of admission was the equivalent of a two-dollar bill.

Times have clearly changed since then. These are not your father’s Clippers, who thought the idea of having Mark Jackson team up with Danny Manning and head coach Larry Brown was the biggest thing since sliced bread. Ever since Doc Rivers came in to be their head coach and overall basketball czar, the Clippers have transformed from the gimmick known as “Lob City” to a legitimate NBA franchise.

Unfortunately for Lakers fans, this is not their old man’s Lakers, nor their older brother’s Lakers. The heroes of past championships now either stand outside of Staples Center as bronze monuments, sit on a chair behind the set of TNT’s “Inside the NBA”, or play center for the Chicago Bulls.

Sunday’s laughable 106-78 crushing by the Clippers had Lakers head coach Byron Scott feeling like Dr. Evil wishing he could gather his team together in a conference room and continually press the red button next to each player’s name (especially Swaggy P) until they all fall from their tilted seats and into the pit of Hell where Laker fans feel they belong after the season. His remarks on Monday about not wanting to be in a foxhole with any of them for fear that “they’d end up shooting me in the back,” was really his way of going all Dr. Evil on the media, telling them that he is surrounded by freakin’ idiots.

At least they lost with dignity on Tuesday. The score was 105-100 and Jordan Clarkson again looked like a source of optimism for the delusional fans who feel that a trio between Clarkson, Julius Randle ‚Äì who only played during the season opener and lost his entire rookie season to a broken leg ‚Äì and whoever they decide to take in the 2015 NBA Draft will bring the Lakers back to prosperity. That and have Kobe Bryant’s max contract off the books so they can spend that on some other perceived superstar.

Until then, they’ll just have to deal with getting owned by the Clippers, who have swept the season series and won the last seven straight meetings.

“I go back to the first game we played them last year,” Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redicksaid before Tuesday’s game. “We lost the game, and (Rivers) kept saying we came out to entertain instead of compete. He said that to us every time we played them since. I think we haven’t lost since that game against them.”

“They have a really good basketball team,” Lakers head coach Byron Scott said on the Clippers. “To me, a rivalry is when you have two teams that are very good. Right now, we are not there. We know we will get back there. It will be a rivalry eventually, but right now, it is not.”

That’s the problem with NBA basketball in Los Angeles right now. It actually has been one for three decades. It is always one team is good and the other team only wishes they could. Rare is the season in which both teams are playoff caliber. It was only two seasons ago since both teams hosted playoff games inside Staples Center.

That felt like an eternity ago.

“To be honest, it feels like just another game,” Lakers point guard Jeremy Lin said. “The good thing is that I can sleep in my own bed and call this an away game.”

All the Clippers can do is continue to dream and chase for that elusive championship that will make them finally feel like part of the club in Staples Center. While that’s going on, all the Lakers can do is hope the lottery ping pong ball that grants the top pick of the NBA Draft shows their logo on it.

Tony Capobianco started the SMDP column “Cap Space” just in time for the 2014-15 Clippers season. You can contact him via email at capomiami@yahoo.com.

Tony Capobianco

Cap Space is a Santa Monica Daily Press column that mainly covers the Los Angeles Clippers.

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