The Los Angeles Clippers withstood an all out assault from the Lakers' Kobe Bryant on Friday night, countering Bryant's unreal 40 point performance with balanced scoring that saw five Clippers score between 10 and 21 points, as the Clippers recorded an impressive 105-95 victory. The loss is the Lakers third in three games to begin the season, and the 2-0 Clippers are now 2.5 games ahead of their local rivals in the Pacific Division standings just four days into the season.
The Clippers bench was clearly going to be an advantage going into this game, particularly with Steve Nash out with a leg injury and Steve Blake forced into the starting lineup, and indeed it was a factor. The Clippers reserves outscored the Laker counterparts 46-16 on the game. Jamal Crawford, making a bid to reclaim his 2010 title as Sixth Man of the Year, once again led the Clippers with 21 points off the bench.
Chris Paul however was the real star of the show, as he often is. He scored 18 points, handed out 15 assists, grabbed six rebounds and also came up with three steals -- all while committing just one turnover. In fact, the turnover numbers more than any other statistic is where the Clippers won the game. The Lakers committed 20 miscues compared to just 12 for the Clippers.
For his part, Bryant was otherworldly. He made 14-23 from the field including two three pointers, invariably against intensive defensive pressure. The fourth quarter began with the Clippers up by 15, and Bryant proceeded to make difficult shot after difficult shot, going 7-8 in the quarter and scoring 18 points. But even that herculean effort from Bryant was not enough for the Lakers.
And it has to be a source of major concern for Lakers fans. Yes, Nash was hurt in this game, but can Mike Brown afford to play Bryant 43 minutes, Pau Gasol 39 minutes, Metta World Peace 38 minutes, all in a losing effort? The ailing, Bryant is averaging 39 minutes per game so far -- and the Lakers are 0-3. It seems as if the Lakers are losing both the battle and the war, if they can't win games and they also can't provide some rest for their aging roster.
This game was never much in doubt. The Lakers kept the game in reach in the first half with some unlikely three point shooting, going 6-9 from deep before intermission. But they regressed to the mean in the second half, finishing the game 7-16, and in the end the Clippers never trailed after taking a 7-5 lead three minutes into the game.
Back with more later. For now, enjoy the win citizens.
|Final - 11.2.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Clippers||28||24||30||5||105|
|Los Angeles Lakers||23||24||20||10||95|