The Los Angeles Clippers continued their domination over the Los Angeles Lakers, as they hammered down their crosstown opponents by 25 points Wednesday night at the STAPLES Center. In a wire-to-wire victory, the Clippers owned a 43-point lead at one point.
This was probably one of the worst games of the season for the Lakers, who were absolutely non-existent on the defensive end. They allowed the Clippers to score 70 points by halftime and 99 at the end of the third quarter.
The Lakers were within striking distance midway through the second quarter, and that’s where things started to take a turn for the worst. In the final five minutes and 43 seconds of the first half, the Lakers allowed the Clippers to score 21 points.
It was a layup and dunk drill for the Clippers almost all game long. Their quickness and athleticism continued to serve as a problem for the Lakers.
What’s even more devastating was that Kobe Bryant only scored four points in this game on 2 of 12 shooting from the field and was scoreless until the 5:48 mark of the third quarter. He did have eight rebounds and seven assists, but six turnovers. Nick Young’s shooting was just as porous, as he went 4 of 15 from the field, scoring 11 points.
Surprisingly, the Lakers leading scorer tonight was rookie guard Jordan Clarkson, who scored 14 points off the pine. The Lakers really missed the defensive presence of Ronnie Price and Wesley Johnson. Price was out due to a broken nose and flu, while Johnson sat out for the second consecutive game due to a hip injury.
Tarik Black, however, made his Lakers debut, as he played 12 minutes during garbage time and put in five points and three rebounds.
The fully healthy Clippers had every one of their players score in this game, except for Ekpe Udoh. Blake Griffin led the charge, as he flirted with a triple-double with 27 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists on 9 of 13 shooting. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan posted double-doubles, with 24 points and 11 assists and 10 points and 13 rebounds, respectively.
Matt Barnes, who got the Clippers off to a quick start with three three-pointers in the first quarter, finished the night with 19 points on 5 of 10 shooting from beyond the arc. J.J. Redick pitched in with 10 points of his own. The Clippers’ starters outscored the Lakers’ by 44 points.
“We were soft,” Byron Scott said. He repeated that phrase multiple times during his post-game interview, and Bryant agreed with Scott’s statement. “He said the same thing I said. He just didn’t use the toilet-paper analogy,” Kobe said.
“They’re just better. They have better players, just come at you in waves. They’re just deeper. We’re short-handed,” Bryant said about the Clippers, adding on to his post-game comments.
The Clippers have now defeated the Lakers nine out of 10 times over the past few seasons. In this game, Lob City was a plus-21 from three and a plus-12 from the costless-throw line. They also only committed six turnovers, as it was arguably their best performance of the season as a team.
The Lakers drop to 11-25 on the season and now own the fourth worst record in the league. Their play was just horrid tonight. They came out flat, with zero energy and effort. Simply put, the Clippers outplayed them in every aspect of the game. The Clippers improve to 24-12 and have gone 5-2 on their current nine-game homestand.
The Clippers will face the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, January 10th, and the Miami Heat on the following day to close out their homestand. The Lakers, meanwhile, will start a short homestand of their own, beginning Friday, January 9th, versus the Orlando Magic.