Sklars on Sports: An All-L.A. NBA Final?

Basketball fans in Los Angeles are pumped about the possibility of an all-L.A. NBA playoff featuring the Lakers and the city's perennial also-ran basketball squad, the Clippers. Madeline Brand talks with sports tag-team brothers Randy and Jason Sklar, hosts of the ESPN Classic show Cheap Seats, about whether the dream match-up will happen.

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MADELEINE BRAND, Host:

Don't hold your breath, but there could be a freeway series here in L.A. The city's two basketball teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, could face each other in the next round of the NBA playoffs.

And joining us to talk about the basketball post-season are our sports brothers, Randy and Jason Sklar. They are hosts of the show Cheap Seats that airs on the cable channel ESPN Classic. And hi you guys.

Mr. RANDY SKLAR: (Co-Host, Cheap Seats, ESPN) Hey, how are you?

BRAND: Let's talk about the L.A. Lakers game last night. What happened?

Mr. SKLAR: Well, it wasn't so surprising the outcome. They went back to Phoenix, the Lakers were up three to one in the series. Phoenix back against the wall, we knew they would come out strong and they took the game. But what was more surprising was what happened in the game. Raja Bell of the Phoenix Suns horse-collared, essentially, Kobe Bryant, knocked him down, was ejected from the game, and then later Kobe cursed at a referee and he was ejected from the game. So it was a wild, out of control game.

Mr. JASON SKLAR (Co-Host, Cheap Seats, ESPN): And still it's controversial because Raja Bell has not been suspended, as of yet, by the league. It's basically saying that yanking someone down is on the same level as cursing at a referee. And a lot of people are saying if Raja Bell were Ron Artest, another troubled player in the league who plays for Sacramento, he would be gone for the next four seasons for doing something like that.

BRAND: So tensions are high?

Mr. SKLAR: Very high.

BRAND: Because it's the playoffs?

Mr. SKLAR: Because it's the playoffs, it's been a heated series all the way. The Lakers are an underdog team; Kobe is an aggressive player, he's been giving Raja Bell a lot of trouble throughout the series, hit the game-winning shot in Game four. And it's a frustrating series for the Suns, because they're a two- seeded team and they're losing to a seven-seeded team.

BRAND: So the Lakers are still up three to two?

MR. SKLAR: Right. And so they come back home on Thursday night and play Game 6 at home with a chance to close it out and play the Clippers in an L.A. on L.A. series, as you dubbed, the Freeway Series, which I think we'd have to determine which freeway it would be.

BRAND: Okay, so...

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: The L.A. Clippers, to a lot of people out there who don't live here in L.A., who?

MR. SKLAR: Yeah, they've been sort of...

MR. SKLAR: They're the punch-line of the league.

MR. SKLAR: Yeah, for years. For 30 years they had never won a playoff series and then recently, I'd say in the new millennium, they've gotten some good players, they've got a guy by the name of Elton Brand, who is a fantastic, he's a superstar in the league. They have a great coach in Mike Dunleavy.

MR. SKLAR: They picked up a couple of experienced players: Sam Cassell, Catino Mobley...

MR. SKLAR: Guys who have had deep playoff experience; Sam Cassell's won two championships. So they now have this swagger. And they won their first playoff series in their 30-year franchise history.

So it's kind of exciting. They're like--they are the ultimate underdog while the Lakers are kind of the mini-underdogs this year.

MR. SKLAR: And it's really funny that a common motivating phrase is for teams to say, and players to say, we don't get any respect. And the Clippers--I think it's going to be a battle of who's got--who got less respect.

MR. SKLAR: You know, the Clippers say, we have history on our side, we've never been respected.

MR. SKLAR: Our own fans don't respect us.

MR. SKLAR: Yeah.

MR. SKLAR: The Lakers are saying this year they weren't expected to even make the playoffs. So it's going to be a battle of who's getting less respect.

MR. SKLAR: Who's the least respected, if they make it.

BRAND: What's the difference between a Lakers fan and a Clippers fan? Everyone's in L.A.

MR. SKLAR: Right, but I think you can actually make a distinction between Lakers fan and Clippers fans down business lines. So you throw out a business and we'll tell you whether it'll be a Laker-friendly business or a Clipper- friendly business.

BRAND: Okay. Whole Foods.

MR. SKLAR: Lakers.

MR. SKLAR: Lakers all the way, easy.

BRAND: Trader Joe's.

MR. SKLAR: Clippers.

MR. SKLAR: Clippers.

BRAND: Barney's.

MR. SKLAR: Lakers.

MR. SKLAR: Lakers.

BRAND: Roth's Dress for Less.

MR. SKLAR: That is the Clippers.

MR. SKLAR: You don't even need to ask.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: Restoration Hardware.

MR. SKLAR: Lakers.

MR. SKLAR: Lakers. And that's a tough one, but that is Lakers.

MR. SKLAR: Yeah.

BRAND: Okay. Here's a tough one. Bed, Bath & Beyond.

MR. SKLAR: I gotta go with Clippers on that one.

MR. SKLAR: When put in the context of a Restoration Hardware, I would say the Clippers are Bed, Bath & Beyond all the way.

MR. SKLAR: They're the beyond of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

MR. SKLAR: Oh, yeah.

BRAND: Sports brothers, Randy and Jason Sklar. Thank you.

MR. SKLAR: Thank you.

MR. SKLAR: Thank you very much.

BRAND: Randy and Jason Sklar are hosts of the show, Cheap Seats. It airs on the cable channel, ESPN Classic.

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