The Clippers and Lakers meet tonight -- and oh my how the tables have turned. The Clippers lead the Lakers by 20.5 games in the standings, which would by far exceed their best finish in front of the Lakers since their first season in L.A. (1984-85). In fact, prior to Chris Paul’s arrival the L.A. Clippers' best finish in front of the Lakers was just 3 games.
The Clippers' first season in Los Angeles came in 1984-85. From that point through 2010-11, which was the season prior to acquiring Paul, they posted a .349 win percentage -- worst in the NBA during that span. During that same timeframe, the Lakers had a .659 win percentage -- best in the NBA.
The Clippers are 6-3 in head-to-head games against the Lakers since acquiring Paul (won 5 of the last 6). From 1984-85 through 2010-11 (season before CP3 arrived), the Clippers were just 28-95 against the Lakers (.228 win pct).
Since the Clippers traded for Paul prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, the Clippers have posted a .657 win percentage, 5th best in the NBA. The Lakers, meanwhile, have gone just 107-102 -- the 14th best record in the league.
Paul is averaging 20.5 points and 11.9 assists per game in 28 career games against the Lakers. Paul and Isiah Thomas are the only players in NBA history with career averages of at least 20 points and 10 assists against the Lakers (min. 5 GP).
While the Clippers have championship aspirations this season, the Lakers will be looking for a quick rebuild through a high draft pick and upcoming salary cap flexibility. But it’s worth noting, Kobe Bryant’s last playoff game came on May 21, 2012 (missed last postseason due to an injury). If the Lakers rebound and make the playoffs next season, it will be almost 3 full years since he played a postseason game.