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Operation Turf Defense: 
The Lakers and Clippers Battle in L.A.

By RICK CIPES                  October 18, 2001

Just picture, Mr. Scrimp & Save himself, owner of Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling as Secret Agent 86, Maxwell Smart, in charge of security for the Staples Center: “At this very moment, the Staples Center is being protected by the entire Sixth Fleet, National Guard, Secret Service, F.B.I., C.I.A., and the entire Rampart Police Division.” When, of course, we don’t buy it for a second, he counters with: “Would you believe the four remaining members of the Rampart Division who weren’t indicted on criminal charges?” When we shake our heads ‘no’ he tries to throw his last con over on us: “Ah…how about a bomb-sniffing miniature poodle with a bad overbite?” 

Over on the other side of the strategic, Staples Center headquarters, the Los Angeles Lakers are sparing no expense, doing everything in their power to assure the safety of their fans (read: two mega-stars), with a free metal detector reaming for everyone in attendance. Owner and faithful supporter of the entire Los Angeles Escort World, Jerry Buss, would like to avoid the memory of their 1992 Riot Days in Inglewood, where after beating Portland in game three of their playoff match-up (which they eventually lost), the Laker Brass was ill-prepared for the terrorism which infiltrated their fortress, via Mr. Rodney “Can’t we all get along” King.

As I so fondly remember, it was not a “beautiful day in the neighborhood” when I left the building that particular evening. Let’s just say that the only Men in Uniform I noticed, were two members of the Village People running for something other than the YMCA. Yes, lives were certainly in jeopardy. 

Thank you, Mr. Buss for being there for us then. 

This time, in an age of far worse implications, the only repeat performance the Lakers would like to witness, is a defense of their third championship in a row. 

The Clippers, on the other hand, are defending their right to be considered respectable. In order for them to do that, the pressure is on Lamar Odom’s shoulders to carry the Clips to the Promised Land, AKA: a 50 win season and a trip to the playoffs. But will Lamar be able to withstand the outrageous slings and arrows of the Chris Webber Syndrome (he’s a free agent next year), steer clear of the league’s drug policy, and rally the fun-bunch to win, say, half of their overtime games this year? 

I say the Clips will defend their youthful exuberance, be the darlings of the league once more (sorry, Your Airness), but fail to make the playoffs for yet another year, keeping Hapless Don’s worst-ever-owner reputation in check. “Sorry about that, Chief.”

As for the Lakers defending their turf, break out the champagne and count them in, it is over. Three-peat. But wait, what about every defender in the free-zone world being draped all over Shaq? Won’t that hamper plans for their next Bling-Bling-Bling Parade? Not after savvy GM, Mitch Kupchak, in a valiant effort to live up to Mr. Basketball’s legacy, went out and signed two intercontinental ballistic bombers to the squad, Mitch Richmond and Lindsay Hunter. Add those two weapons to the regular arsenal, minus Ho Grant (who decided he wanted to move to Florida in the “twilight of his career” and play with another geriatric, Patrick Ewing), and the question is, not how many games will they win, but by how many points, and in streaks of what.

Remember C-Webb, Pip, The Towers-Formerly-Known-as-Twin, and anyone else that actually believes they have a chance: You can sneak around the interior and try to stomp on Shaq’s big toe, or run covert operations on the wing in an attempt to bruise Kobe Bryant’s fragile sensitivity, but there’s too many armaments in this Super Power to be toppled. 

Rick Cipes is a freelance writer who writes for Stance Magazine, Front Magazine, and his own website www.comedyave.com.



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