It was a good twelve minutes. And then…well… the beating ensued. But first the Lakers had to lull us into thinking they are interested in competing. It was a trick they have perfected and the start of the game had a certain entertainment value. Whether it was Blake Griffin going to the rim or Pau Gasol going coast to coast like a guard and finishing with an uncontested layup, defense was optional. Pau scored 10 of the Lakers first 13 points, being very aggressive against DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers turned the ball over six times; the Lakers defense was extremely active, especially their hands on balls. Simply put, in the early going, the Lakers were playing harder than the Clippers. But their offense was Gasol centric. When he missed shots the Clippers pushed the ball and finished, either it was Chris Paul or Big Baby making a mid range shot and the Clippers took a 7 point lead at 27-20. Every missed Lakers shot turned into a Clippers finish and at the end of the first quarter the Lakers trailed by two.
The start of the second quarter was a reminder of two things: the Lakers are the worst team in the Western Conference and they don’t pay attention to their own history. In the January 10th game against the Clippers it was in the second quarter that the Clippers took the game over by pushing the tempo and creating turnovers. The Lakers had trouble scoring then. They had trouble scoring now. This was the lineup: Farmar, Brooks, Henry, Sacre and Kelly. Enough said. The Clippers went on a 8-2 run to push the lead to eight, 37-29. After four minutes, the Lakers had one basket and one free throw. These were the facts. Darren Collison was too quick for Jordan Farmar. He had 14 points in the quarter and was the head of the snake. Danny Granger was better than anyone on the floor for the Lakers. Xavier Henry and MarShon Brooks and Robert Sacre were overmatched. They couldn’t score. The Clippers could. The Clippers outscored the Lakers 18-3 with six minutes left in the quarter, highlighted by a Jordan dunk. The Lakers were stuck on three points in the quarter and trailed by 17. The Clippers picked up their defensive intensity and the lead was 20. The Lakers had 4 points in the quarter with four minutes left and were down by 25. Another embarrassment and a possible 40 point quarter for the Clippers. (It was a 44 point quarter, don’t you just love D’antoni small ball?) At the end of the quarter the Clippers had 73 points. They outscored the Lakers 44-13. They did not have Jamal Crawford or J.J. Reddick.
It is hard to believe that this was the same team that went into Portland and won. The same team that guarded Damian Lillard. The Lakers made Darren Collison look like Russell Westbrook. The Clippers were going for lobs at every opportunity. Could they possibly beat the Lakers by 50? That was the only intrigue. With four minutes left in the quarter the Clippers had 100 points and the Lakers did not have 60. The 4th quarter did not get any better. The Lakers gave up 142 points, the most ever in the NBA this year. They were outrebounded by 31. Even the 76ers haven’t been this much of a D-league team. And so goes the worst narrative. Worse Staple Center loss. Worse loss against the Clippers. Worse loss in team history. Worse Kupchak expression. Team Contender thrashes Team Disaster on a dismal night in L.A. The Nuggets are next.
Tags: Los Angeles Lakers