Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Warriors’ Draymond Green plays for LA Rivals Lakers, Clippers

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The Golden State Warriors have been the bane of the existence of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers for the past decade, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

Dubs’ forward and four-time NBA champion Draymond Green joined the league in 2012, in the middle of the closing years of LA’s Kobe Bryant era. The Lakers had won back-to-back titles just two years earlier, while Green played his junior and senior seasons at Michigan State University.

Green appeared on the Thursday, September 15th edition of the Caffeine-produced Checc’n In Podcast With Big U and spoke about what it was like to emerge in the Western Conference at that time when the Warriors ended with a dealing with Lakers’ dynasty and a Clippers team on the rise.

Green and the Dubs have had several heated regular season changes over the years with the Chris Paul and Blake Griffin-led Clippers, though they only met twice in the postseason.

Golden State lost 4-3 to LA in the opening round of the 2013-14 playoffs and then avenged that series loss with a 4-2 win in the first round of the 2018-19 playoffs. Still, the Dubs have bested their domestic enemies by conquering the league, earning six trips to the NBA Finals and capturing four rings behind the Big 3’s of Green, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson over the past eight years.

The Clippers, on the other hand, were the all-time postseason target, going 2-0 twice in the first round in 2012–13, against the Memphis Grizzlies and in 2015–16 against the Portland Trail Blazers. They also held a 3-1 lead against the Houston Rockets in 2014-15, a losing lead that continues to define a postseason legacy for Paul that is fraught with disastrous stumbling blocks.

That core group of Clippers disbanded in 2017 after never earning a berth in a Western Conference Finals, while the Warriors remain a collective as they enter the 2022-23 campaign again among title favorites.

The rivalry could be renewed this year, however, as the Clippers will also be among favorites to win the West and lift a championship trophy should Kawhi Leonard and Paul George remain healthy for the season’s tally.

As for the Lakers, they’ve never really been a dominant force at the same time as the Warriors. The Bryant era ended at the same time as the Big 3 era of dubs ended, so while there was some overlap, it was never extremely competitive.

The Lakers then sank into a multi-year struggle of incompetence and insignificance while the Warriors reigned as kings of the NBA. That changed a bit when LA secured the services of longtime Golden State competitor LeBron James, who hit the dubs four straight times in the Finals as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ leader.

But even then, peak periods between franchises didn’t really coincide. The Lakers won their only title with James the year Kevin Durant left the Bay Area, and Thompson and Curry were sidelined by season-ending injuries. When the Dubs reignited a dynasty last year, James and fellow Lakers Anthony Davis failed to pull Los Angeles into the playoffs.

Still, there is hope for a renewal of the Warriors-James rivalry that has defined half a decade of NBA basketball. Golden State is looking to repeat itself in 2022-23 after bringing back its core six players. On the other hand, the Lakers are hoping to deal with Russell Westbrook and build a legitimate roster around James and Davis as the former enters the apparent twilight of his pro career.

Green and James have always had a heated rivalry on the pitch, although tensions on the pitch appear to have eased in recent years as the two are now engaged as business partners and friends. However, should they find themselves at odds at any point in the Western Conference playoffs, all bets are likely to be void.

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