There are a handful of interesting games on the docket for tonight, and this isn't one of them. Not much to see here that we haven't already seen before.
The Clippers warmed up for a couple of quarters before blowing out the Lakers 120-97. The Clippers were led, rather quietly, by solid games from their superstars, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Griffin had 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists on 7/14 shooting while Paul had 23 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds on a blistering 8/10 shooting and more strong shooting from the 3 point line with a perfect 4-4 from that distance. The team got contributions from across the team, from a much crisper J.J. Redick to a fairly active Big Baby. There was a lot of sloppy passing, especially in that first quarter, and lazy defense, but the Clippers didn't seem to think they needed their A game against these guys. I don't blame them, they didn't.
The Clippers didn't really play well, they were just playing what was probably the least talented opposition they've faced all season. The Lakers already don't boast a terribly impressive roster when healthy considering the declining defense their aging stars have been playing in recent years, but without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol, they had virtually nothing going. Even the recently resurgent Chris Kaman wasn't playing this one. Kent Bazemore, who barely played for a playoff team earlier in the season, is one of the team's better wing options and he got injured quickly in the first half. Nick Young even had an injury scare, but he came back to miss a bunch of shots. The next best thing you can really say about this Laker team is that Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill should be rotation players somewhere in the league next year. All the laughing at the Lakers has gone dry for many, and looking at what they're fielding nowadays is just sort of a bummer.
A few things:
-Great to see Redick on point offensively today going a solid 7-11 from the field. He was moving well on the offensive end last game, but a few of his shots were a bit off, and it sucked seeing him pass up a good look on what could have tied the game against the Mavericks for a worse look at what could've gotten the lead.. He's still a bit slow on defense, but as long as he's feeling physically okay, I'm not too worried about it. Not much you can do as far as getting use to chasing guards through screens, just gotta get back to it. His offense is great and reminds you of all he does just by himself on that end.
-Speaking of which, was interesting seeing the wrinkles in the rotation brought by just starting Redick. Doc brought Darren Collison in early for Redick and then brought Redick back in for Paul, and that'd help a lot of the hero ball we've seen in the second unit whether it's been from Collison (who was a bit off today) or Jamal Crawford. Now they won't be able to do that as much with Crawford back, but having Redick alongside the bench for spurts could help even out the offense some. For example, bring Redick out early for Crawford, having Collison start the second for Paul, and bring Redick in early for Crawford or maybe going small and playing all 3 guards together.. Crawford should and will get his minutes so it might not fit best, but something to think about. Obviously Redick is best alongside Paul, but I'm sure Collison could find him off those screens too if he had to. Balancing those backcourt minutes will be something to see, but not the worst problem.
-What's worse, almost losing by 50 points or getting blown out and having Hedo Turkoglu dunk on you? Followed by just as rare of an occurrence, a made Reggie Bullock three! Salt on the wounds! Two Collison dunks too!
-Good stuff from Davis tonight, but against this competition, it says little to nothing. I hope he rounds up to shape a bit, going to need him in the postseason.
-Swaggy P is Swaggy P. Dude is always entertaining. I wonder how angry he is on being on a losing team or if he's secretly excited that he can just go out there and do whatever the heck he wants whenever he's on the court and have no consequences. Well, no matter what he does, he'll always have Game 1 against Memphis.
-I love Hubie, but it was funny to see him look for a bunch of fouls against the Clippers or missed calls for the Lakers throughout the game. He was quietly pulling for them to keep things competitive too. I don't blame him, but you don't need to read the half dozen of "Things are changing in L.A.!" articles that will redundantly come out over the next 24 hours. That says enough right there.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are up next in what could be a game of significance. Between today and a casual couple of days between the next game, the Clippers should get all the practice they need for that one.