Lakers Insider: Clippers’ Playoff Run Adds Spark to Growing Rivalry with Lakers

LOS ANGELES — It has been a pretty good couple of weeks for all you Los Angeles Lakers fans.

All your concerns—more like undying, vociferous detestation—got Mike D'Antoni's attention. And much the way the now-former Lakers coach espoused that the "ball finds energy," the negativity found D'Antoni—and it was unpleasant enough from you, Kobe Bryant and others that the Lakers are getting a new head coach.

Then your one and only deserter, Dwight Howard, didn't "stay" in the playoffs with the Houston Rockets either. Howard's first grand foray with his new team and co-star James Harden ended just as quickly as last year—in the first round. Plus, Howard was shot down by Damian Lillard, a Kobe fave whom Bryant promoted for the 2014 All-Star team and heralded in a tweet way back in April 2013: "#vintagevino. Lillard is the real deal #mambasalute."

Then, Phil Jackson—known in these circles as the one who got away—took his first big swing as New York Knicks president and missed...with Steve Kerr spurning him Wednesday to go coach the Golden State Warriors, the team announced.

All in all, a nice run for Lakers fans.

(Well, only compared to the disaster of the past season, of course. Once upon a time, the Lakers used to view the second round of the playoffs as their on-deck circle to gear up for titles and parades.)

The one thing that hasn't broken right for the Lakers lately?

Those talented, resilient, exciting Clippers.

The Lakers' intra-arena rivals were on the brink of a first-round disappointment amid the Donald Sterling fiasco, but they held off the Warriors in Game 7 and are engrossed in another serious series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers' preseason decision to cover up the Lakers' championship banners at Staples Center has been proved fortuitous. (The only flaw in the plan: Jared Dudley, wh...

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