The last two years, the Lakers-Clippers "rivalry" has mostly been known for Clippers lob fests, lopsided scores, and Lakers losses. Tonight was no different, with the Lakers losing by a final score of 106-78 as the Clippers set a franchise record with their 25th road win, and the Lakers set a franchise record of their own with their 56th loss.
The Lakers missed 9 of their first 12 shots to begin the game as the Clippers jumped out to an early 14-6 lead, but were able to tighten up their defense a bit when the Clippers bench entered the game and ended the first quarter only trailing 23-16. Jordan Clarkson missed his first two shots and committed a turnover in his first 10 minutes of playing time, as Chris Paul looked noticeably committed to disrupting the much talked about rookie with his physical defense. Blake Griffin had his first shot blocked by Tarik Black, but made 4 of his next 5 attempts, getting whatever he wanted against a mostly over-matched Lakers' defense.
The Clippers continued to build their lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Lakers 26-20 to take a 49-36 advantage into halftime. The Clippers outshot the Lakers from the field (50%-30%), from three (45.5%-30%), and committed fewer turnovers (5 to the Lakers 10) in the first half, a sure recipe for a large advantage. Clarkson's solitary basket in the second quarter put the Lakers' starting backcourt at 1-9 on the night, and the Lakers defense as a whole did not look much better. As Justin Russo of Clips Nation aptly described it:
Clippers are moving the ball like it's a laser pointer and the Lakers are cats trying to catch up to it.— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) April 6, 2015
As if things did not look bad for the Lakers before, the Clippers downright embarrassed them in the third quarter, going on a 24-7 dunk filled run to end the period and send the Lakers into the fourth quarter trailing 83-54.
Spending 317 word on the first three quarters of this massacre is probably too many already, and the Lakers did not do anything worthy of note in a fourth quarter in which neither team's starters played very much if at all. Clarkson certainly looked like a second round rookie tonight, scoring just 2 points on 1-6 shooting with 2 turnovers. Wesley Johnson was the tank commander of the night, going 6-16 from the field to get his 16 points.
For the Clippers, DeAndre Jordan (16 points on 9 shots with 11 rebounds, 4 steals, and a block) and Blake Griffin (18 points on 14 shots with 5 assists and 5 rebounds) combined to dominate an outgunned Lakers frontline, while JJ Redick (12 points on 6 shots, 2-2 on three-pointers) lit the Lakers up from deep. Because this game was so competitive and enjoyable to watch, a rematch between these two teams will be nationally televised on TNT this Thursday. Get your oven mitts ready, we have Charles Barkley hot takes incoming.