ClipperMax turned 12 on Thursday. I happen to be in the middle of the obligatory slumber party with 6 sixth grade boys trying to see who can be the last to go to sleep. As such, I didn't really watch this game. I saw bits and pieces, but I didn't watch it.
Not that it mattered much. When I saw the starting lineup with Aaron Williams and Brevin Knight, I knew what the outcome would be. The Lakers could take this team as lightly as they wanted - there just wasn't anyway they could lose. Not with the disparity in talent.
Surprisingly the Clippers hung around for awhile. I happened to be watching when, with 2:15 remaining in the first half, Corey Maggette had what appeared to be an uncontested layup to tie the game at 47. But it turns out that Pau Gasol did contest it - in fact, he blocked it. After a Vujacic miss, it looked like the Clippers would get another chance to tie the game. But a Dan Dickau turnover in the backcourt led directly to a Vujacic three, and by halftime the Laker lead was 8. Less than halfway through the third period, it was up to 21 and the game was over. In less than 8 minutes of clock time, the Lakers outscored the Clippers 30 to 11.
In case no one had yet informed you, Pau Gasol is good. In fact, I've long felt that Pau Gasol was the closest thing in the league to Elton Brand. Not that their games are that similar, but they are easily the two most underrated superstars in the league. Perhaps I should say were underrated, because the Lakers spotlight means Gasol no longer toils in obscurity. But consider this about Brand and Gasol: neither of these guys has ever made an All Star team other than as a replacement player. How can that be?
After almost 6 seasons of working in the NBA Siberia of Memphis, the US is finally going to see how good this guy is. I would say the world, but of course the world already knew about him. The fact is, almost any NBA player that size, with a modicum of ball skills, can free up some space for a shot. Josh Powell can put the ball on the floor and get off a shot. The trouble is, those little 10 foot running hooks are tougher than they look, and though most guys can get them, they can't usually make them. Gasol has a LOT more than a modicum of ball skills, and an uncanny touch around the basket. He can get his shot off, and he can make it. And he can get hit and still make it. Plus he can rebound and pass and just generally play basketball. I'm just still dumbstruck that no one made a better offer for him. Because the price the Lakers paid makes it look like they traded for damaged (or at least questionable) goods. And this guy ain't damaged.
Celtics on Monday. The Celtics are hurting a little - 3 straight losses on their Western Conference road trip, and they have to play Portland tomorrow (lucky for them it's a 3 PM tip). If Kaman and Cassell can play, I like the Clippers' chances in that game.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go tell some 12 year olds to shut up and go to sleep.