The Clippers had slightly more trouble with the Lakers Friday night than we anticipated, but a lot of that had to do with Jamal Crawford not being able to play and Caron Butler seeing limited action and having his game severely limited, due to a migraine headache. So, with Chauncey Billups still out, the Clippers had to take on the Lakers with petty much only three of their top six players. Add to that the fact that both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan got into almost immediate foul trouble and played only sparingly through much of the first half.
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|We know that both Griffin (when he was on the court) and Chris Paul had fabulous games to lead the Clippers, but what we said Thursday about their second unit being able to beat the Lakers was pretty close to the reality of the game. For much of the game, the Clippers lineup was Paul and Griffin along with Matt Barnes, Eric Bledsoe and Lamar Odom, and that unit was tremendous.
The Lakers proved once again that as a team they have no ability to play defense, and further,
that the coaching staff doesn’t seem to care. The last minute of the game was a prime example of this mind-set. With 42 seconds to play and a still reachable four point Clippers’ lead, the Lakers allowed Chris Paul to dribble around the top of the key with no defender near him, and shoot and hit a virtually uncontested 21-ft shot that both extended the lead to six points and took 23 seconds off the clock. With 19 seconds left, the game was then basically over, and late, late three-pointers by Jodie Meeks and Kobe were for naught.
But, the Lakers did, for once, get some life from the bench. While Antawn Jamison and Darius Morris are total wastes of space (0 points, 1 board, 1 assist, 3 fouls, and just plain awful defense in 18-1/2 total minutes), they did get some actual help from two other very fringe NBA players, Jordan Hill and Meeks, though Meeks did start out with some terrible shooing. But I would not hold my breath waiting for that to happen again anytime soon. Also assisting in the Clippers’ win were both the lackluster performance by Pau Gasol, who seemingly has forgotten that he is a talented, seven-footer who can dominate a game when he is motivated, and the miserable game played by the meta-tag piece artest psycho thing, who could neither hit a shot or defend, and fouled out, which in and of itself, gave the Lakers a better shot at winning.
The Clippers followed up the game against the Lakers with a very impressive game against Golden State, paying them back for the loss on Wednesday. Still without Crawford, the Clippers won going away by 26 points, holding Warriors’ stars Stephen Curry and David Lee to 10 points apiece, after they had scored 31 and 24 respectively, only three days earlier.
It will be interesting to see how the Lakers handle their rematch with Denver tonight, after Denver blew them out 10 days ago. I do not expect a different result.