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LA Lakers 88 - Clippers 85

Final - 4.5.2009 1 2 3 4 Total
Los Angeles Clippers 17 27 12 29 85
Los Angeles Lakers 30 24 14 20 88

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Well that was strange.

Did the Lakers Kiss Cam really want Kate Hudson to kiss her brother?  That's not appropriate, Kiss Cam operator.

The game was pretty weird also.

In a role reversal, the Clippers overcame the lion's share of a 19 point fourth quarter deficit, holding the Lakers to zero field goals for over six minutes.  LAC reeled off 16 straight, eventually cut the lead to one, and had the ball on two occasions in the final minute with a chance to tie the game on a three pointer.  Zach Randolph had a decent look at 27 seconds that bounced away, and Baron Davis had a much tougher look at the buzzer that actually came closer than it had a right to.

As it happens, it was an overly long game, and my DVR cut out after Zach's three was rebounded by the Lakers (I saw Baron's shot on SportsCenter).  Anyone care to enlighten me as to why the Clippers waited 16 seconds before fouling?  Seems like if they'd had a little more time it might have helped.

This was an ugly game.  In fact, I'm hard-pressed to know how the Clippers were within a one possession in the end.  They shot terribly, both from the field (37%) and from distance (24%).  They turned the ball over more times than the Lakers (16 to 10).  About the only statistical category they owned was rebounding where they enjoyed a 46-38 edge thanks to Brian Skinner's 13 boards.

I suppose it's a decent result, with Camby and Kaman still out and with Al Thornton looking rusty while scoring three points on a sore foot.  The team played good defense, holding the Lakers to only 42% shooting, and shutting them down in the fourth.  But it's not as if the Clippers looked particularly sharp in any other aspect of the game, so it's hard to take much pride in only losing by three. 

The shame of it is, had Eric Gordon shot well (he finished with 24 points on a respectable 9 for 22 but missed myriad makeable shots all night), had the Clippers gotten a couple of calls in the third quarter (mystery fouls sent Odom and Gasol to the line, a shot clock that was correctly reset to 24 was re-reset to 2 by the officiating crew when they said that a shot that clearly hit the rim did not, Zach Randolph picked up a bogus loose ball foul while grabbing the ball with both hands) the outcome might very well have been different.  The 19 point lead should not have been that big.  But it turns out, it was just big enough.

For the Lakers, they dodged a bullet, but they can't be happy with the way they played.  They weren't sharp, and particularly disturbing in light of last year's finals, they looked soft.  You know, if Brian Skinner pushes you around, what are the Celtics going to do?  Andrew Bynum will help on that front, but they didn't want to be this dependent on Drew right off the bat in the playoffs.