The Lakers held off Blake Griffin and the rival Clippers for as long as they could. Griffin looked unlikely to get another double-double after early foul trouble and just 2 points in the first half. But the second year rookie is a bona fide beast and it was just a matter of time until he got his.
The Lake Show came out of the gate lazy. A couple DeAndre Jordan tip dunks when he was left all alone under the hoop made it look like they’d rather be watching football than playing ball at noon. Once the second quarter started they got it going. With the D dialed up, Phil Jackson took his team to the locker room with a lead that would expand to double digits in the third.
Then, the wheels came off.
Despite getting another efficient effort from Kobe Bryant (27 on only 17 shots) and a dominant performance from Andrew Bynum (18, 13 and 3 blocks) the finishing touch was never applied to the Clippers. Slowly but surely the Laker lead was leaked away until an ill-timed technical on Bynum officially gifted the moment to the other L.A. team.
Griffin began to go to work on Odom. After getting a monster dunk in the first, Blake did little until the fourth. But when he came to life it was like the awakening of Frankenstein. Before you knew it, the sure fire ROY had 18 and 15 and the 7 game win streak was over.
Oh, Eric Gordon dropping 30 didn’t hurt either. This Clipper team is playing with all kinds of confidence right about now. The Lakers chipped in with costly turnovers. But give the Clipps credit. They cashed in on those egregious errors and this win was as much about what they did and not only about what the Lake Show didn’t.
This is a pivotal stretch for the Purple and Gold. Tomorrow night is Oklahoma City and then Wednesday is a date in Dallas. Both games are against playoff caliber teams, a far cry from the competition that the Lakers have been facing during their recent improved play.