Los Angeles has been a postseason hot spot this month even without the Lakers. The NBA playoffs have centered around the Clippers in Los Angeles -- not always for the right reasons -- while the Kings have already made history in their latest Stanley Cup playoff run. May 3 was the biggest night yet for L.A., as the Clippers finally moved out of the second round in a Game 7 shootout, right after the Kings started their second round with an improbable overtime victory.
The Clippers' 126-121 win over the Golden State Warriors was their first ever Game 7 triumph in Los Angeles. Between that and the lifetime ban of owner Donald Sterling, a week that began in historic turmoil for the Clippers became a franchise-altering turning point. Of course, if Los Angeles wins its next series over the Oklahoma City Thunder, it will be a much greater landmark.
While the Clippers are not used to going too far in the NBA playoffs, the Kings are old hat at getting through the Stanley Cup playoffs. Yet this postseason has been harder than usual for the Kings, after erasing a 3-0 series deficit to the San Jose Sharks just to reach the second round against the Anaheim Ducks. If that wasn't enough, Los Angeles was seven seconds away from losing Game 1 by 2-1.
That all changed when Martin Gaborik got the puck past Jonas Hiller with seconds to spare in regulation. But Gaborik wasn't finished, as he ended overtime by tipping in a blast from Anze Kopitar. The 2-1 loss turned 3-2 victory was almost predictable for a Kings team living on the razor's edge.
While both the Kings and Clippers looked dead in the water for various reasons in this postseason, they could now both keep the Staples Center open into late May or June. Despite both franchises living in the Lakers' shadow for decades, they are the powerhouse teams in Los Angeles now -- at least among those who play in the Staples Center.
The Clippers reached the second round of the NBA playoffs for the second time in three years, after barely managing to do that much in the previous 30+ years. Meantime, the Kings are three wins from reaching the final four of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third straight year, after barely having any postseason success in the previous 40+ years.