When it comes to professional basketball in Los Angeles, the Lakers have dominated the conversation. The Clippers have always been the little brother compared to the Lakers, but this season the Clippers are in the playoffs without the Lakers joining them for the first time since both teams have played in LA. The last time the Clippers franchise was in the playoffs in a season in which the Lakers weren’t was the 1975-76 season when the Clippers were still the Buffalo Braves. Even though the Clippers have surpassed the Lakers in the standings, they can’t make the jump in ticket prices.
LA Clippers playoff tickets at Staples Center are averaging $229.75 on the secondary market, according to TiqIQ. Even as one of the higher averages in the playoffs this year, that price is still 39 percent lower than the average price of Lakers tickets last year when they struggled to the seventh seed. The Lakers were swept by the Spurs in that series and were without Kobe Bryant.
The price for Clippers playoff tickets has increased from last season, though. last year they had an average price of $185.51, but were directly competing with Lakers sales. Last year the Lakers averaged $378.57 a ticket, which would be second only to the Toronto Raptors this year. The Raptors are a three seed, back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, are in a big market and have the highest playoff premium above the regular season average than any other team in the playoffs.
History is likely in play for why the Lakers continue to cast a shadow over the Clippers. The Lakers have won 16 championships, which is second only to the Boston Celtics all-time, have been a perennial playoff team every season, and always seem to be led by one of the biggest names in the sport. Even last season, when they barely made the playoffs, the Lakers had name value in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.
On the other hand, the Clippers have had a tortured history on par with some of the worst franchises in sports. They have only recently been able to turn things around with the drafting of Blake Griffin and the trade for star point guard Chris Paul. But that hasn’t been enough to reverse the fortunes of the two franchises.
The Clippers have a legitimate chance of winning a title this year as the third seed in the West, and sport the second-best point differential in the league. They will face an exciting Golden State Warriors in the first round, a team that almost found a way to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semifinals last postseason. The Clippers finally have the spotlight to themselves and could use a successful playoff run as the next step to escaping the Lakers’ shadow.