There's one certain team that keeps Kobe Bryant glued to the television.

The Clippers.

"They're very entertaining," Bryant said. "They have players who are very exciting and fun to watch."

From Chris Paul's quickness to Blake Griffin's dunks, the Clippers (37-17) have become a worthy sequel of the Lakers' original "Showtime" teams. It's good enough for a third-place standing in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, the Lakers (25-28) have much ground to cover if they want to slip into the playoffs, even if they've won eight of their last 11 games.

That's why the Lakers' matchup tonight against the Clippers in a designated home game at Staples Center goes beyond local bragging rights. Below is a look at what will determine the outcome.

*Last time they met: The Lakers' 107-102 loss Jan. 3 against the Clippers marked the second game of what became a six-game losing streak, Bryant may have scored 38 points, but the game prompted shares on Twitter that he has "thoughts of self-doubt" about the Lakers' season.

That's because the Lakers couldn't stop Paul (30 points) and Griffin (24 points). Dwight Howard initially injured his right shoulder after getting tangled with Caron Butler. The Clippers out-rebounded the Lakers 47-36 and posted 20 fast-break points. Pau Gasol remained so ineffective, shooting 1 of 6 from the field, he sat for most of the fourth quarter.