Lakers/Clippers: Battle Of L.A. 2012, Part 2

Rey Moralde —  January 25, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 96, Clippers 91
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 114.3, Clippers 108.3
True Shooting %: Lakers 65.7%, Clippers 50.5%

The Good:
The good? A win, of course! They snap a three-game losing skid and beat a very good team.

Let’s give Pau Gasol a lot of props. He wanted the ball more and he got it. Pau finished with 23 points and 10 boards. What’s more? He was inside quite a bit in this game. It opened up a whole mess of options in the halfcourt set.

Metta World Peace was VINTAGE Ron Artest tonight. Yeah, you can look at the box score and say, “Well, he only scored three points.” But he did all the little things and was seemingly the main playmaker in this squad today. If you look across the rest of his stat sheet, he stuffed it with 5 boards, 7 assists, 2 steals, and a crushing block on Chris Paul. His timely plays in the fourth quarter (frustrating Blake Griffin in the process) put away the pesky Clippers late (which we’ll talk about later on in this recap). He also played a season-high 38 minutes as he gave hellish D to the Clippers.

The ball movement was much more crisp tonight. What’s more? The Lakers were making three-pointers! They made 8 out of 16, which is pretty phenomenal for the guys who are last in the league behind the arc.

Andrew Goudelock, who seemed pretty forgotten in this team, played the 1 tonight… but who are we kidding? He was in there to fire away and fire away he did. Goudelock poured in 14 points, easily a career-high. Without Goudelock and World Peace, the bench would’ve been completely shut out so it was really awesome to see them contribute.

It was also nice to see the Lakers pack it inside the paint on defense. The Clippers were struggling to get into the paint more and more as the game wore on (in contrast, the Lakers kept attacking… which gave them 32 freethrow attempts compared to the Clips’ 14). The Lakers answered the challenge after a fast 19-9 start by the Clippers. After tying it up at the end of the first quarter, the Lakers kept it close enough throughout the entire game and were able to wrest the game away from the Clips late.

I can’t forget Kobe Bryant. He had an all-around very good performance with 24 points, 7 boards, and 6 dimes. He made sure to get everybody involved in the first three quarters before firing it up in the last stanza. That’s the Kobe that I like. Also, Andrew Bynum (19 points, 4 blocks) had some huge clutch plays on both ends. Was nice to see him come through in the waning moments. Another note: Chris Paul (who went buckwild in their first meeting with 33 points) was held down to 4 points (his hamstring probably still bothered him).

Another good thing about this game? This game was really fun to watch for a change! I’m serious!

The Bad:
The Lakers had 16 turnovers and Kobe Bryant got careless with the ball (7 turnovers by #24), particularly with those zip passes, which were intercepted twice.

It would’ve been nice if the Lakers kept their composure a little bit more. Yes, the refs had a quick trigger today… but the Lakers had 4 technical fouls (2 by Josh McRoberts, who got ejected in the 4th). They gotta settle down a bit. I must say that these battles between the Clips and the Lakers have gotten chippier.

Also, the perimeter wasn’t really guarded well early in the game. The Clippers made six three-pointers in the first half and it was looking like that was going to be the difference in the game again. But the Lakers went ahead and locked that down, while they started making 3-pointers of their own. It was a pleasant surprise but, hey, we’ll take those, right?

And, yes, the Lakers got outrebounded once again, 42-36, by the Clippers (offensive boards in favor of the Clippers, 17-10). We gotta continue to monitor this trend.

The Ugly:
It’s hard to find anything ugly in this game as this was really a well-played game by both teams. If I had to pick something, it’s the continuous referee stoppages to call quick-trigger technicals as I mentioned earlier. It’s an emotional game, refs. Let them play. They’re not robots. You want robots, refs? Go watch some anime.

The Plays Of The Game:
We gotta go back to Metta World Peace’s two gems. A straightaway three that he made was crucial as that put the Lakers up, 87-82, with 3:30 left. I’m sure every Laker fan was screaming, “NO… NO… NO… YES!!!” A minute later, World Peace got an offensive carom off a Fisher missed 3 and assisted Bynum with a dunk that fired up the Staples Center crowd. It was so good to see Metta World Peace fired up and having fun playing basketball again. Maybe he’ll tweet about ostriches mating with pandas later since he had such a good game.

That day of practice really did the Lakers good. And they have another two days off before they face the Bucks at Milwaukee on Saturday. With a bit of momentum going into their mini-road trip, this was the game the Lakers needed. Hopefully, they can keep this rolling.

Rey Moralde

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26 responses to Lakers/Clippers: Battle Of L.A. 2012, Part 2

  1. See I have been telling you all season the Lakers can win!

    Especially if Brown play Andrew 25 minutes and Fisher less and less when Blake come back.

    Also Metta can’t play off the bench. He falls asleep to easy. Start him and he might cause some damage on defense like tonight.

    Big win for a team who has 8 of 9 on the road with only one win out there.

    Hope this build them up and that Brown can finally go with the right players.

  2. Lakers looked to have legs after 2 days rest.. Nice team effort. Big plays by Bynum down the stretch

    Pau needs to be that aggressive looking for his shot every night it

    Stu Lantz is the best in the biz

  3. “Another good thing about this game? This game was really fun to watch for a change! I’m serious!”

    MOAR!

    Great game tonight on both sides. The refs did insert themselves a little too much but the home team winning trumps all.

    Go Lakers!

  4. Maybe it was the lack of practice. The spacing was better, the defensive rotations (in the second half) were better, and obviously the shooting was better.

    It was great that MWP took his Ron Ron pills.

  5. Now I didn’t watch the game, but looking at the box this question begs to be answered:

    Was our outside shooting a result of better spacing and passes, or was it vice versa?

    Did 3s fall first, or did we do damage inside first?

  6. HAROLD: Better spacing and passes (we were marveling about their ball movement early). And Andrew Goudelock was hitting early and often. But a lot of this wouldn’t be possible without Pau Gasol getting early touches inside. He really set the tone for the Lakers with 17 first half points.

  7. All this without “our great hopes”, Kapono hitting a bunch of 3’s…Or Toy Murphy hitting his shots…Or Steve Blake giving some speed to the offense…

    We beat CP3’s team, without all of above…without Kobe going rogue (which I like), without Barnes hitting some nice 3’s…And almost without McBob, that did good, but the refs send him out…

    We won without all the things I mentioned above.

    That makes me think…

  8. Magic Phil

    Keep in mind that this was CP3’s first game back. It wasn’t the defense that held him to four points, it was was the time off.

    It was Ron Ron (not MWP) playing out of his mind, better spacing (maybe the best all year), and better passing (sans Kobe’s third quarter). That is in addition to Pau and G-lock’s outstanding offense.

  9. “It’s an emotional game, refs. Let them play. They’re not robots. You want robots, refs? Go watch some anime.”

    10/10

  10. Very good post-game interview from Kobe Bryant, you guys might want to check it out. He talks about Metta/Pau and their performances, and the necessity for guys to play within themselves.

  11. And that is how professional basketball players shoot the three point shot!

  12. I’m not willing to call this a Great win but I will call it a step in the right direction. This game was very close and could have gone either way (the Clippers had several chances to take the lead several times at the end of the game). I think if CP3 is full strength this game is a loss, he just wasn’t himself tonight due to being rusty off the injury.

    Pau being better was the real key to the game, that was the guy we are used to watching the past several years. As for 3 pointers and Artest . . . this is just one game, I’m not ready to jump on the bandwagon till I see more consistency and a bigger sample size. To me Artest was one of the biggest problems the team had all year last year so putting him in the starting unit will not do anything, especially considering he’s had maybe 3 good games all year and Matt Barnes has played well 75% of the time this season.

    On to the next one…. Looking forward to Brandon Jennings against the D.

  13. One of the few games played this season in which the big guys both got more than 10 fga’s (A. B hit 6 of 11, Gasol: 9 of 13). Kobe still took the most shots (7 of 17) but not more than his bigs combined. This s/b the Lakers blueprint on offense. Nice to see Bynum hit at least 70% from the line also (7-10) & get four blocks.

  14. Mike brown really needs to do a better job on preparing the players to defend the pick and roll. Whole night the Lakers switched the defenders without sending a third defender to trap the ball holder. Then you have Fisher or Goudelock defending their big men. Chris Paul, Mo, Billup, got to drive against Pau and Bynum.

    Brown is very good at motivating the players to play better defense, but the schemes are not suitable for lakers current personnel. He is also not utilizing the lakers talent on the offense. The big men were fighting for a better position in the low post without a cutter from weak side to exploit possible gaps. The shot clock ran Dow to a couple ticks, then Kobe has to fir a desperate shot to beat the clock. Then, every one blames Kobe for taking too many shots, and forget that Brown is not designing the plays properly.

  15. Got to give Pau his do. I hadn’t seen him that aggressive since game 7 against the Celtics 2 years ago. But honestly, people are going to say he finally got touches but I didn’t really see it that way. From what I saw he was getting the ball in the same positions he’s been getting the ball all season. He was just making aggressive moves to the basket. FINALLY!

    Ken – you’re my man and all, but I have to call you out here for your comment – “See I have been telling you all season the Lakers can win!”

    I haven’t seen 1 comment from you all season that would lead us to believe you think they Lakers can win anything.

  16. Got it right finally, Lakers won on their 4th encounter through grit and guts from the old personality Artest and the redemption of the softie Catalan and the new discovery Goldilocks. Haha!

    Well, Metta is a special defensive player and he should be utilized on a task oriented mission as stopper and a decoy in the post. What we missed all this season is the rebound of LO and his proficiency in ball handling which create space for Bynum, Kobe and Pau. However, there are other players who could assume that post and make it better once they get to know each other. So far, as Magic Phil said the 3-pt are not yet in play i.e. Kapono/Blake/Murphy, we have not seen those three cylinders worked consistently. I think Lakers won last night for the fans and pride as a battered Champ. The ragtag team Clippers have not won anything in terms of title, yet they’re cocky as if they own this City. Of course, they represent youth and talent but still they just converged lately and call themselves Clippers. It would take sometime and titles too, before they could earn the respect in LA.

    This weekend, Lakers will travel and play b2b games in Minny and Milwaukee. From hottie, it could be coldie again if they maintain that same composure last night. Other players should step up from Barnes, Ebanks, McRob to lend support, it would be difficult to sustain that kind of intensity in every game.

  17. Just my 2 cents on the game last night:

    I agree that Paul looked rusty, but I also think he looked tentative. That was likely related to this being his first game back, but for those that watched him last season it would have also reminded them of how he played in a lot of games for the Hornets – simply content to pressure the defense with his penetration but ultimately being a table setter for his teammates.

    That said, let’s not act like Paul’s performance was the only thing that could have been different in this game from the Clippers side. Caron Butler shot lights out early in the game and ended up making 4 of his 8 three point attempts. For a career low 30’s% shooter, that’s a bit of an outlier – especially when you consider some of his makes were pure pull up jumpers right in the defenders face. Second, Blake Griffin made countless jumpers last night (I believe he hit 6 of his 10 J’s) and many of those were of the step back or fade away variety. He’s not normally that accurate with his jumper and it’s one of the reasons some analysts have been harder on him this year as he continues to shoot his J without bringing solid results. If either of those things are worse for the Clips, they struggle to score and this game could have been titled even more in the Lakers favor.

    Obviously this goes both ways, though. Goudelock had an excellent game on offense and the Lakers, as a team, hit half of their 16 three pointers. Both of those things are rare feats as well.

    So, I guess my ultimate point is that things like this happen in NBA games. Players get hot or play above their heads. Guys hit shots (or don’t) guys play aggressive (or don’t) guys have more energy than normal (or don’t) and thus the game is impacted. With this being the case, taking this game for what it was – a good win – regradless of circumstances seems to be the way to go, no?

  18. Rusty Shackleford January 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Another game; another different rotation. I’m guessing he liked what he saw from Goudelock in practice and that’s why he got the nod over Morris last night. Another Laker fan told me this is because the front office is asking Mike Brown to showcase players for trade reasons. . . .

  19. It was a good win for Lakers, but i also saw this team lost their championship experience. Playing at home, in one minute left, Kobe had turnovers and Clippers still had a chance.

    Pau Gasol said he thinks Andrew and him better than D-Howard. I am not sure about that, because D-Howard rebounds better, he can run the floor.
    Our twin towers are slow, often standing to watch the ball. Last season, Dallas can win on the road, Lakers have to show that.

    Every year, i hear NBA experts say Portland is dangerous team, but every year they fail. Clippers acting like they own this town, but they forget they did not win any thing yet.

  20. The energy and aggression from the defense and the fact that the offense looked like it had a bit more of a clue is definitely a sign to how things should be run.

    Be aggressive on both O and D.

    This team for the most part hasn’t looked the part. Mostly as a passive team.

    The team has potential to be competitive and win it all, *but* it needs to be firing on all cylinders for that to happen. It can’t happen any other way if any of those are not clicking.

    Bye.

  21. I thought the game looked like a textbook example of the value of rest and practice. that doesn’t mean they’ll become a reliable shooting team from now on, but the way that the team knew what it’s plan was and set about executing it all game gave me hope.

    I was particularly thrilled that at least 2, maybe 3 key plays late came from guys actively seeking out Bynum down low instead of forcing their own 10 foot foot shot. Pau, Artest and Kobe all got late assists going after Drew as a weapon they could use in their own playmaking. The advantages of this were obvious. Punish the defense breaking down, make the offense less obvious so it does break down, and motivate the big guy before he makes the key defensive play of the game.

    No they can’t rely on Goudelock doing this every game, but my mind was eased by the fact that when they focused on executing a known game plan, they had success. I was also encouraged by the fact that everybody did appear to be on the same page in trying to execute. Kobe had issues with turnovers but those turnovers often came from him trying to set up teammates. When the game was on the line, he didn’t force the shot he might usually, but made the high percentage play. That will pay dividends in the long run towards making the team more consistent overall.

    The Lakers deserved the win last night, but even if things hadn’t gone their way, I like the team’s attitude in response to it’s struggles.

  22. I was surprised that no reporter picked up on the unfriendly shoulder bump that Pau gave Chris Paul AFTER the game. Once the buzzer sounded Pau walked towards the Laker bench and Paul was walking towards the Clipper bench. Pau actually moved towards Paul and bumped him, and kept walking. Paul was pissed and yelled at Pau. Pau responded and pointed (!) at Chris Paul, as if to make sure Chris Paul knew the bump was intentional. Impressive! Griffin and Paul seemed to go out of their way to taunt Pau. I’m glad Pau stood his ground. That was one of the better games I’ve seen from Pau in the last year. Maybe he should get T’d up more often…

  23. Regarding the Lakers being outrebounded again the trend continues, it’s now the last 5 games.

  24. The formula that the Lakers used last night can be successful. Everyone was aggressive and we played team defense.

    It kind of reminded me of the 08-10 Celtics. I hate Boston but that is the way they usually play on offense. If Pau is aggressive like that every night then this will be a diff. team.

    Also Brown has to keep Morris and Kapono on the bench stay with Goudelock, Ebanks. The rotation was nice I hope he doesn’t switch it Sat.