Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers were put through the blender by the Los Angeles Clippers. Surprising? No, not by any means. The Clippers are a very good team. They have athletic big men who can run the floor and play with great energy, they have youth and depth, and they have Chris Paul: leader of men, crusher of souls. In this "battle" of Los Angeles, it was more of a bombing. Bombs crafted in the hands of Chris Paul and dropped down below by Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Final score in this laser tag battle; 107-102.
The Lakers attempted another heroic comeback in the fourth quarter, but to no avail. Kobe Bryant scored 16 points in the fourth (38 points, 5 steals, 3 assists total for the night), but sickeningly yet again it was too little, too late. Add another one of those to the count, ladies and gents.
Somehow the Lakers made this a game, though. They tend to do that. Raise hopes as high as possible before knocking everybodies wind out. Their defense picked up as the game was coming to an end as they held the Clippers to 20 fourth quarter points (with a handful of free throws in the final minute), but with the hole they stumbled into as has been the case, it simply wasn't enough.
The Lakers, yet again, didn't have enough. Will they ever?
Chris Paul hit gut-wrenching shots for the Clippers to counteract Kobe's heroics, and the Clippers held on. Paul ended the night with 30 points, 13 assists, and 6 rebounds. His partner, Blake Griffin, had 24 points but only 4 rebounds. For the Clippers, though, the 8 points here, 9 points there, and another 8 points over there dispersed through their depth was enough to carry them despite missing their second leading scorer, Jamal Crawford.
Dwight Howard had a quiet as a church mouse 21 points to go with his 15 rebounds. He also fouled out of the game on a senseless jump into Chris Paul when he clearly had no hope to make a play on the ball. Regardless, the foul as an isolated incident is far from where the blame needs to be placed. He got his post touches to start the game. So, hooray. Here's some confetti.
Pau Gasol, where were you? I'll tell you where you were: the bench. For the fourth quarter. Until Dwight fouled out. 2 points (1-6), 4 rebounds, and 2 assists? There's $19 million tied to you needing playing better than that. It's not a question of whether you can or can't, it's a responsibility. Pau Gasol tying up that amount of salary, at this point for the Lakers franchise, is a glaring issue if this is all he's going to bring on the hardwood.
Kobe can't do it alone, and this team was built to make sure he wouldn't have to. Somehow, that's been a far cry from the product on the court. To Kobe's credit he's doing as well as he can. While his defense has been below average, to miserable, tonight he brought it. It was the whole show from Kobe tonight, scoring on high degree of difficulty shots, cutting, hitting shots off of screens, and gambling intelligently (5 steals). Not enough.
The Lakers sudden inability to hit open shots from beyond the arc, despite taking copious amounts of them, is one of many problems. Jodie Meeks has fallen off the deep end with his shooting. The cold streak continues for him with a 2-8 night from deep and his continued insistence to drive to the rim. It's like watching a de-clawed leap at a tree hoping to climb it only to fall, helpless. A turtle stuck on it's back. An ice cube in a bon fire. Metta World Peace also seems to have lost his shooting touch, going 1-6 on the night for 2 points, and going 0-4 from deep.
That'll do it for the night. The Lakers have a day off before playing Sunday against the Nuggets who just a few games ago kicked the Lakers right in the shin. More in the morning.
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- Clips Nation probably hit another dagger with Chris Paul. Go watch the point guard of point guards. Or something.
|Final - 1.4.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Lakers||22||29||20||26||102|
|Los Angeles Clippers||29||32||26||16||107|