That's certainly the case with the Los Angeles Clippers, who open their season Tuesday, Oct. 29 with a solid chance to beat their now-underdog crosstown rival, the L.A. Lakers, for a fifth consecutive time.
In a lopsided series, led by the Lakers 143-53 all-time against the Clippers franchise, that would be a big deal. Heck, the Lakers once went three seasons between 1996-99 where they didn't lose once to the Clippers. The Lakers have also swept the season series 10 out of the last 30 years.
The last time the Clippers cobbled together five straight against the Lakers? You have to go back to the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, when the Clippers, led by Bob McAdoo, played in the Eastern Conference as the Buffalo Braves.
Adding former Boston Celtics championship-winning coach Doc Rivers, along with shooters Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick to a roster that won 56 games last season while sweeping Dwight Howard and the Lakers 4-0, the Clippers arrive at Staples Center as heavy favorites over L.A.'s other pro hoops team, which still doesn't have a return date for the injured Kobe Bryant.
How dominant have the previously moribund Clippers been over the Lakers of late? Their average margin of victory over Kobe and company was over 13 points last season, and the Clippers won three out of four games by 10 points or more.
Even though the Lakers' 45-37 mark in 2012-13 was entirely disappointing, no other Western Conference team playing them three or more times managed to sweep them.
With the Clippers picked by several prognosticators to win the Western Conference for the first time this season, it will take an upset this season for the Lakers to avoid another sweep. Not only are they without Bryant for the foreseeable future, but 39-year-old point guard Steve Nash has been grappling with a sore ankle and a stiff neck. Pau Gasol, 33, is coming off a tendon procedure in both knees, while newly acquired center Chris Kaman missed the last three games of the preseason due to illness.
A collection of younger wing players, including Nick Young and Xavier Henry, showed flashes in the preseason for Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, but there's no guarantee any of these castoffs will blossom into consistent players that will help push the Lakers into the playoffs.
So, yeah, this Clippers' winning streak could go on for a while.
Should the Clippers win as anticipated, Bryant will have some time to rehab his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon before the Clippers try to break the all-time mark with six straight wins.
Daniel Frankel is founder and editor-in-chief of TitleTownNews.org, the voice of Southern California sports.
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