Following last nights all-to-close win over the hobbled Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers face their arena-mate LA Lakers, who have now been deemed “dangerous” by no less an expert on the subject than star power forward Blake Griffin. Kinda makes you wonder. I guess ole Blake not only has forgotten all about the team that wore forum blue and gold last season, and never saw them play this pre-season, and didn’t bother to keep up with LA Lakers’ Bleacher Reports. If he had, well, he may have used a slightly different term than “dangerous”. “Pathetic” comes to mind.
|Of course, the highly regarded Clippers went face-to-face with an eight-man Thunder squad last night, a an eight-man Thunder squad that was missing, basically, almost all of their talented players. Yet, the Clippers had to go down to the wire to eek out a three-point win. The Lakers go into the game with about as long an injured list, but instead of being without, temporarily, the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, and Anthony Morrow,||
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Tonight’s game has some interesting matchup. For example, you’ve got the Lakers’ undersized center Jordan Hill going against the Clippers monster in the middle DeAndre Jordan, backed up the the solid 7′ 1″ Spencer Hawes. We also have a mini-battle of point guards, with the underachieving Jeremy Lin, backed up by rookie Jordan Clarkson, who is talented by raw, and also by the fringe of all fringe players, Ronnie Price, who should be playing in a park somewhere instead of at Staples Center. They “match up” against the premier point guard in all of basketball, Chris Paul, and backing him up, the guy the Lakers should have never let get away, and should had utilized so much more, note once, but twice, Jordan Farmar. Given the likely outcome of the game, I can see him playing some big minutes tonight, and showing the Lakers what they should have had in those forum blue and gold uniforms.
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|Matt Barnes got a lot of criticism during the pre-season, but he shot well last night, hitting three-of-six shots. He'll likely be guarding Kobe much of the time, and they could get nasty. Kobe is basically all the Lakers have, and their only chance of keeping the game with 15 points is if Kobe plays enough minutes, has a hot night, and puts in 40+ points, I don't see Barnes letting that happen.|
But, the Clippers as a team need to shoot a lot better than they did last night, when they hit on only 39.1% from the floor, and a dismal 23.3% (seven-of-30) on three-point attempts. The major culprit was J.J. Redick, who went one-for-10, including one-of-seven from outside the arc, but who did hit a couple of clutch free throws late in the fourth quarter. Chris Douglas-Roberts, last night’s back-up to Barnes, was also zero-for-four, and he may not see the Staples floor as early, if at all, tonight.
The game may surprise and be close, like last night, but I think the non-existent Lakers’ defense will provide a field day for the Clippers, who will pretty much score at will. The Lakers will have Kobe and a prayer, that will not be answered, in a Clippers runaway win.