After the Clippers used a 22-0 second-half run to beat the undermanned Lakers 118-107 in the teams’ first regular-season encounter, Harrell said the Clippers wanted to remind people that there was another team in Los Angeles besides the Lakers.
“I love it,” Harrell said of hearing the boos. “Because they already don’t recognize us as a so-called L.A. team, but we don’t really care about that. But we want y’all to know that we’re the LA Clippers. That means Los Angeles Clippers, man. So there’s two teams in L.A.
“Y’all try to overlook us, just because of everybody in that purple and gold and the history of it. Yeah, I respect that. But that don’t mean s— to me. Excuse my French — that don’t mean nothing to me. I come out here and play for the guys that I am on the floor with. At the end of the day, y’all gonna have to recognize us, man. We are going to make you understand who we are.”
The Clippers continued their surprising start and improved to 21-14, putting them fourth in the Western Conference. They thrived by playing physical defense against the Lakers on Friday. Taking advantage of LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (finger surgery) watching from the bench, the Clippers turned an 80-73 deficit with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter into a 95-80 lead with 9:45 left in the contest.
Former Laker Lou Williams scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half to hand the Lakers their fifth loss in the past seven games.
Williams drilled a 3-pointer over Lance Stephenson that gave the Clippers a 112-100 lead, effectively ending any chance of a Lakers comeback, and celebrated by doing Stephenson’s signature air guitar.
“It was just fun,” said Williams, whose Clippers have won 22 of the past 25 meetings with the Lakers. “I’m sure Lance won’t care. He’ll be back to playing his guitar tomorrow. We’re fans of the game. We watch games where he’s putting it on guys and he’s playing his guitar, and we get a good laugh out of it.”
While Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the L.A. rivalry certainly matters to the players because of their proximity and familiarity, Williams said there was no added “emphasis” to this quality win for the Clippers.
Harrell echoed Williams’ sentiment, but he acknowledged that the Clippers want to remind everyone there is more in Los Angeles than James and the Lakers.
Asked when people might start taking the Clippers seriously, Harrell said, “Don’t really know, don’t really care, you know? But we’re going to keep doing what we need to, to make sure y’all see that we’re here.”