Los Angeles’ two hoops teams will square off tonight in a highly-anticipated matchup. Kobe Bryant was very complimentary of his Staples Center neighbors, the Clippers. The Lakers superstar says that not only is Jamal Crawford the Sixth Man of the Year, but that Lob City is in the NBA title hunt. Per the LA Daily News: “One team reminds Kobe Bryant of the Showtime Lakers. The Clippers. ‘They’re very spectacular and fun to watch,’ he said. ‘There’s no question about it. They have higher jumpers than Showtime.’ There’s one team that Bryant considers a team the Lakers will have to go through should they win an NBA championship. The Clippers. Said Bryant: ‘They’re one of the top contenders.’ Sense a pattern Once they remained nothing more than a punchline and an opponent the Lakers could automatically pencil with a win. Now the Clippers (25-8) lead the Western Conference and enter Friday’s game against the Lakers (15-16) in a designated home game at Staples Center fielding plenty of compliments from the team’s star. Bryant credited Chris Paul for changing the Clippers’ culture. Bryant touted Jamal Crawford as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. And Bryant sounded well aware on public sentiment after seeing the Clippers’ 17-game winning streak and the Lakers struggling to stay around .500. ‘They expect the Clippers to come in there (Friday) and run all over us,’ Bryant said. ‘I find it interesting.’ [...] After all these years the Clippers viewed their Los Angeles counterparts as a benchmark, the roles have reversed. The Lakers haven’t lost a season series to the Clippers since 1992-93. A Clippers victory Friday would make them 2-0 against the Lakers with two more left this season. The Lakers suddenly need this win more than the Clippers. ‘Obviously from a record standpoint,’ Bryant said. ‘Absolutely.’”