With a 107-96 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night, the Los Angeles Clippers extended their incredible win streak to 17 games and completed the month of December with a perfect 16-0 mark; by far the best month in franchise history. Now with the NBA’s best record (25-6) firmly in their grasp, the Clippers are a team that everyone seems to be in awe of, even…their in-city rival.
It’s certainly been a remarkably surprising start for the Clippers , but things took an even more surrealistic turn this week as Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni of the Los Angeles Lakers admitted to looking up to the team that used to be commonly referred to as the Lakers’ “little brother.”
“They’re real good and they’re having a great streak, so we’ll have to reckon with them and they’re kind of setting the bar of where we need to get to,” D’Antoni said via ESPN.com.
When asked if these Clippers are the best team he’s seen in his 17 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant said:
“I don’t think it’s a question about it.”
Bryant, who has been a part of a true dynasty and some of the best NBA squads in recent years, looked at the Lakers’ crosstown rival with admiration at what they’ve been able to accomplish.
“To put together win streaks that are that long, it shows a lot of focus, it shows a lot of unity and a lot of depth because they can beat you multiple ways,” Bryant said. “If you’re going to have a winning streak that’s that extensive, you have to have guys coming in from all aspects of the game.”
As much as the Lakers may be looking up to the Clippers at the moment, the fact is they still have to prepare to play against them three more times this season, with the next meeting coming up on Friday, Jan. 4. But Since the Lakers are currently on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned, they have to focus on more than just beating the hottest team in the league at this point. They need to get their own win streak going.
“What we got to worry about is to play well,” D’Antoni said. “And, we’re taking some steps. I think the standings will take care of themselves. Obviously, I will look and do look and act like I’m not worried about it. Yeah, I am worried about it, but we just got to keep progressing as a team.”