What happened to LA’s status as America’s basketball city?

Both of the Los Angeles teams are struggling this season. But the long-term prognosis for the famous Lakers looks better than that of the Clippers

Sunday was another tough night for LA basketball. The Los Angeles Lakers’ losing streak increased to five games after the Houston Rockets blew them out 118-95. Meanwhile the injury-plagued Clippers lost their third straight, falling to the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-106. Despite coming into this season with radically different expectations, both teams have won just eight games and have a long way to go if they want to make it above the .500 mark. While it’s still early in the season, there’s a strong possibility that we could be heading towards the first NBA postseason without an LA-based team since 2005.

It’s been a particularly unusual time to be a Lakers fan as their team has already missed four straight postseasons, by far their longest playoff drought. In fact, prior to this stretch, they had missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons only once before, in 1974-76. Since 1960, when they moved from Minnesota (hence their geographically suspect nickname) to become the first NBA team on the West Coast the Lakers have won 25 conference titles and 11 championships, including two three-peats. This is a team that has showcased a laundry list of superstar players including Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

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