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Clippings: The Battle of L.A. moves to 2-1

The Clippers’ six-game winning streak came to an end against their crosstown rivals Sunday.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers don’t like day games. Doc Rivers really doesn’t like them. And the team won’t be particularly fond of them after losing Sunday’s afternoon tip in a game when the Lakers simply had more energy than the home team.

Before the game, when asked why the Clippers have struggled in these early contests, Rivers said, “The cause is 12:30. Not much you can do about it. And we play a lot of them, being the third tenant in the building. It’s nice that we got the Lakers to join us for a 12:30 game. That’s impressive. We were hoping, on some of these 12:30 games that the Friday nights in L.A. would get the other teams. And that hasn’t happened.”

The Clippers are 4-3 thus far in 12:30 PT tip-offs, including close calls against the Knicks and undermanned Sixers, and shocking losses to the Grizzlies and Kings. Entering Sunday’s matchup, the Clippers’ net rating of plus-6.47 dropped to minus-1.79 in day games, per Pivot Analysis. They have one more early game left this season on April 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Postgame, after the players admitted to not having the same “juice” as the Lakers, Rivers joked about the solution to his team’s problems, “You know, I called my owner and I told him, ‘You know what you should do? You should build an arena.’ And you know what he’s doing, he’s building an arena.”

Not only is Steve Ballmer in the process of building an arena, he also just bought an old basketball arena last week. If all goes according to plan, afternoon Clipper games could become a thing of the past.

Until then, the Clippers will continue to work through their day games woes, which could be particularly important come playoff time. The weekend 12:30 p.m. time slot is a fixture for West coast teams during the postseason. If the Clippers and Lakers run into each other again when the sun is up on Saturday or Sunday, it won’t be because the Clippers are the “third tenant” in Staples Center, and they’ll have to be better than they’ve been so far.

As for this latest Clippers-Lakers showdown...