Lakers are good for a laugh as Clippers try to take them seriously

Lakers were featured on blooper reel at a recent Clippers game, but Clippers say they're wary of L.A. rivals

It was spliced in among laughably bad turnovers and missed shots, the smiling faces of four Lakers players mugging for the camera during their infamous postgame celebration after beating the Boston Celtics.

Yes, it's true. The Clippers' game-day staff decided the Lakers were worthy of the blooper reel shown after the first quarter of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans last month at Staples Center.

The latest jab in the rivalry between Los Angeles' NBA teams triggered a mildly amusing skirmish between Clipper Nation and Laker Nation on Twitter and served as a reminder that what happens off the court between these teams is often more entertaining than the games.

The Clippers have won five consecutive games and nine of the last 10 in a series that resumes Sunday with a designated Lakers home game.

If the Clippers win, it would represent their longest winning streak in the history of the rivalry.

“They're just down right now,” said Clippers forward Matt Barnes, a former Laker, “but you know an organization like that is not going to stay down, so we're just taking advantage of them being down and making sure we kick their [butt] every chance we get.”

The rivalry moved off the court last season when Clippers Coach Doc Rivers covered the Lakers' championship banners with giant pictures of his top players.

Of course, Lakers fans often counter that their team leads, 16-0, in the only category that matters: championships.

“Right now we're obviously the better team — we've had the better team for the past few years — but until you start hanging banners, it's not really even a conversation,” Barnes said of the rivalry.

The stakes in the third and fourth meetings between the teams — they play again Tuesday night in a designated Clippers home game — have been known for months.

The Clippers will be playing for playoff seeding and the Lakers for lottery balls.

Then again, the Lakers might be a bit more plucky than usual, given the opponent.

“If anything, they're going to play even better just to beat us because we know they're not going to the playoffs,” said Clippers guard Austin Rivers, who will be experiencing his first taste of the rivalry. “So it's, all right, let's take these wins against the Clippers. That might be their mind-set, so we definitely have to come ready to play.”

Playoff prep

Doc Rivers said his coaching staff had started its preparations for the five teams the Clippers could face in the first round of the playoffs.

“Right now it's pretty vast,” Rivers said of the information being digested, noting that he had never had to get ready for this many teams. “Hopefully, by two games out you'll at least have it narrowed down to two or three teams.”

Rivers said assistants Lawrence Frank and Brendan O'Connor handle the brunt of the prep work.

“We just went by height,” Rivers joked, referring to how he selected the assignment. “Woody [assistant Mike Woodson] is safe.”

CLIPPERS VS. LAKERS

When: 6:30 p.m Sunday.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, Prime Ticket, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 980, 1330.

Records: Lakers 20-55; Clippers 50-26.

Season series: Clippers, 2-0.

Update: The Lakers trail the Clippers by a staggering 30 games in the Western Conference standings. The Clippers have won nine of the last 10 between the teams and have never won six in a row against the Lakers, though it might happen Sunday. Clippers sixth man Jamal Crawford, sidelined since March 2 because of a bruised right calf, is not expected to play against the Lakers but could make his return Tuesday when the teams play again in a designated Clippers home game.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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