Use this thread for commenting during the second half of the game.
Halftime report from Staples.
The Clippers lead by two at halftime, 43-41, which is very surprising considering that they've not played particularly well so far. This team really needs Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon to be great if they want to have a chance in most games, let alone against the champs, and yet Griffin is 2 for 8 in only 10 first half minutes, while EJ is 2 for 6 (though he has made 4 free throws).
So how are they leading at halftime? I'm not entirely sure. They've played good defense, contesting shots well, which has held the Lakers to 38% shooting. Of course the Clippers have shot on 37%. The Clippers are winning the boards 38 to 34, and have made twice as many threes, which is very surprising. (Like I said in the preview, I think the Lakers early season three point shooting was an anomaly, so they were bound to come back down to earth.)
The Lakers bench has been great all season, but it's the Clippers bench that has been better in this game. Butler, Gomes and Smith have combined for 20 of the team's 43 points on 8 for 12 shooting, and Baron had three assists.
The biggest fact from the first half is that Pau Gasol has been invisible - 6 points on 5 shots. Somehow I don't think that's going to continue in the second half - but then again, I expect Blake to show up as well.
Also notable is the number of Laker air balls - ugly, not close shots. I have Artest wide right by about 2 feet on one three, Odom with a shot that went at least a foot long, and Gasol with an 8 footer that he shot 7 feet. Maybe they were indeed looking past the Clippers to the start of their road trip, as we had speculated/hoped they might.