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Lakers 97 - Clippers 88

At various junctures of Saturday night's loss to the Lakers, the Clippers simply could not take advantage of their opportunites.

In the second quarter, with the Clippers ahead 30-27, Kobe left the game for his first rest.  I turned to the guy next to me and said, "The Clippers should open up a lead here."  Instead, it was the Lakers who went on a 7-1 run, and outscored the Clippers 7-3 during Bryant's 3:25 on the bench.  During this run Tim Thomas missed two wide open threes.

The fourth quarter opened with Bryant again on the bench, and the Lakers holding a 5 point lead.  The Lakers opened the quarter with an 11-4 run, which included two Corey Maggette offensive fouls.  By the time Kobe re-entered the game, after almost 5 minutes of rest, their lead was 8.  So, if you were curious, the Lakers outscored the Clippers by 2 points in the 40 minutes that Kobe was in the game, and by 7 points in the 8 minutes he was out.  

When Kobe is out of the game, the Clippers supposedly superior bench is supposed to out play the Lakers.  But Maggette's 15 points hardly offset his 4 turnovers, Livingston was 2 for 6 with 2 assists, and Tim Thomas was horrendous.  The story of the game may well have been the difference between Vladimir Radmanovic and his replacement.  Thomas was 1 for 7, 0 for 4 from three, for 3 points.  Vlad was 4 for 7, 2 for 3 from three, for 10 points.  In fact, coming out of a time out after the aforementioned 11-4 Lakers run in the 4th, MDSr drew up a play to get a three for Thomas (he was 0 for 5 at the time, so you can certainly debate whether that was the right call).  They executed the play well, and Thomas got a wide open look, which he promptly missed.

This was a winnable game.  But when it was over, and a friend asked me what happened, I said "Name a Clipper who played well.  Not just one who didn't play badly, but someone who played well."  He couldn't.

Mobley was the only one I could come up with.  And Livingston and Ross both played good defense.  But Mobley's game was not overly memorable, and he only had 4 points in the first half, and he only took 11 shots.  Elton's number don't look horrible, but he was not good.  He just isn't finishing around the basket like he did last year.  Once again he had no 'and-ones'.

So the team is now 0 and 2 against the roommates (who are a much better team than I thought they would be, btw).  They are also 0 and 2 in Road Wins to Home Losses.