Preview and Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

Darius Soriano —  April 4, 2012

Records: Lakers 34-20 (3rd in the West), Clippers 32-21 (4th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.4 (13th in the NBA), Clippers 108.2 (5th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.8 (9th in the NBA), Clippers 105.6 (20th in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Ramon Sessions, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Clippers: Chris Paul, Randy Foye, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Injuries: Lakers: Andrew Bynum (questionable), Jordan Hill (questionable); Clippers: Chauncey Billups (out for the season), Mo Williams (out)

Lets get right to it. This game is pretty important. The winner tonight will win the season series, which gives them the inside track on winning the division and earning a better playoff seed. And in a season where the West is so bunched up, winning the division and guaranteeing home court for the 1st round of the playoffs is quite important (especially to a home dominant team like the Lakers). So, beyond the bragging rights or the fictional battle for Los Angeles, there are tangible stakes to this game that make it meaningful beyond the “one out of sixty-six” mindset of most games this season.

For the Lakers, getting the win will be difficult, however. After slumping a bit in the middle of March, the Clips have rattled off six wins in a row – a streak that’s been bookended by double digit victories over the Grizzlies and Mavericks. They’ve found their stride again and while they’ve been hit with injuries (Mo Williams has been out for the past 6 games) they’ve not missed a beat by plugging in Randy Foye and Nick Young (who they acquired at the trade deadline).

The key to this game will be how the Lakers defend the Chris Paul centric attack of the Clips. Paul makes everything go through high P&R’s and, essentially, deciding who shoots and when. When he handles in the P&R he loves to string out his dribble and force the big man to switch on to him and then use his quickness and savvy to get himself a shot or force the defense to collapse and then finding a shooter or a cutter slashing to the rim. In the past he’s abused the Lakers by getting Gasol or Bynum to come out and guard him and he’ll break them down off the dribble and shoot his step back jumper or find Griffin or Jordan cutting for a dunk or Foye or Butler spotted up behind the three point line. The Lakers must contain this action by hedging AND recovering to their proper match ups, lest they want to get burned again and again by Paul.

Griffin must also be contained by making him finish from a stationary position over the long arms of his defender. Griffin must be turned into a spot up jump shooter and a flat footed post up player where both Gasol and Bynum can bother his shot with their superior length. If Griffin can consistently hit the 18 foot J good on him, but the Lakers must not let him get momentum going to the rim.

As for the rest of the Clippers, the Lakers must force them into positions where they’re less dangerous. Butler has hurt the Lakers in the past as a spot up shooter and must be forced into a volume dribbler to set up his own shot. Not only will Butler try to work in isolation if given the chance, but he has the ability to stall the Clippers sets by hunting for shot. The same is true of Nick Young and Randy Foye. Both will hunt shots and if they can be forced to take multiple dribbles and take tough jumpers (rather than get all the way to the rim) both can be slowed to limited effectiveness. However, if  any of these players are given open jumpers, they will find their rhythm and will hurt the Lakers so strong rotations, close outs, and contests on those shots are needed.

Offensively, the Lakers must make sure they’re moving the ball and making the Clippers’ defense work. The Clips are 20th in D-Efficiency for a reason as they are susceptible to an offense that makes multiple passes and breaks them down with a discipline attack. This means the Lakers must move the ball inside and out and from side to side to get the Clips into scramble mode. This means that Kobe and Bynum mustn’t be intent on hunting their shots but rather taking what the defense gives them and doing it quickly. Bynum must do his work before the catch and not wait for double teams that may or may not come before he makes his move. As for Kobe, he must be precise with his off ball movement to set himself up for clean catches where he can attack quickly with his jumper or on drives to the paint.

I’m especially intrigued by Gasol and Sessions tonight, however. Gasol will be matched up with Griffin and can take advantage of him on the low block if given the space to do so. In recent games the Spaniard has shown his post game still has plenty of life and Griffin doesn’t offer much resistance on D. If Gasol – especially with the 2nd unit – can get post touches, he can have a real impact on this game.

As for Sessions, his speed and ability to get into the paint can be a major factor tonight. The Clippers P&R defense ranges from passable to horrible on any given possession due to big men that either lack awareness (Griffin) or the foot speed (Jordan) to hedge and recover consistently. If Sessions can turn the corner and get into the teeth of the defense, he can force help and create passing angles or offensive rebounding opportunities for his big men – especially for the one that Jordan is guarding.

Ultimately, this may be one of the more important games in the history of Lakers/Clippers. The stakes are fairly high and both teams could use the benefits that a win tonight bring. Expect the effort to be high, the game to get chippy on more than one occasion, and for the crowd to love every minute of it. I must admit, I’m excited for tonight.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start time on KCAL (and Prime Ticket for the Clippers broadcast) and ESPN nationally. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts Twitter Facebook

166 responses to Preview and Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

  1. Nice preview Darius! That was great final post on the previous thread too!

    Okay Lakeshow, you heard the man. Defend the CP3 pnr and take advantage of Pau’s size over Griffin. Hopefully MB can get the rotations straightened out a bit!

  2. Kobe has been sticking to his man last few games. If he plays D like he’s playing Rondo Foye will get 50.

  3. I hope Bynum can play and give him a discount on the fine. It is hard to find if he’s really hurtin’ only he can decide the pain tolerance. He said the other day that he will play on Clippers game.

    Come on Socks, there will be many crisis that will happen in your life, so swallow that gripe and move on.

    Lakers cannot toy around the Clippers, it is either they will be in 3rd position or back again to 4th in Conference Standing. The 4th position would mean the 2nd round will be against OK Thunder. Think about that.

    Glock is getting rusty for every game he sits on the bench and Ebanks is even rustier. They are too young to feel rusty while Kobe and Pau are weary and exhausted.

  4. NBA center posts of late haven’t mentioned Clippers $42 Million DeAndre Jordan. At least DJ is a real center as opposed to PF like Monroe and Horford.

    Bottom line is Andrew Bynum is no worse than 2nd best center in the NBA. Bynum has more potential than any center other than Greg Oden.

    Hopefully his ankle is good enough.
    If so, Bynum will gash big money d.Jordan.
    Bynum dominates him.

  5. Hopefully Bynums ankle isnt too bad and hopefully Kobe decides to play defense tonight. Foye hit 8 threes last game in Dallas and we all know Young loves to shoot. Kobes gotta stay on them and contest well, none of this free safety business.

    HUGE game tonight! Winner owns the tie-breaker which in effect means this game is worth two wins; if they finish the season with the same records, this game will determine who gets the 3 seed

  6. Funky Chicken April 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    So, how big a lead must the Lakers have mid-way through the 3rd quarter in order to survive their late game collapse? I’m guessing 25 points.

  7. KenOak,
    Btw… As I said your position is mostly decided by height, length, and weight/strength. Well… Hakeem was incredibly long and strong like Dwight Howard at 6-10 so he could play with guys the size of Shaq (who he outplayed in the Finals).

  8. “Commissioner David Stern says the NBA is close to finalizing a deal to keep the Hornets in New Orleans with a very favorable lease, important capital improvements, intense tax benefits and a new television deal.”

    Great, now can we have Chris Paul back?

  9. Can Sessions outplay Deron and Paul back to back games?

    If I was Brown and the game is close in the 4th I’m putting Kobe on cp3.

  10. So Bynum must not be playing since nobody has said so here.

    Jordan is going to dunk all over Pau. This could get ugly

  11. I said we would go on a 6-1 streak and we are 3-0 towards that. tonight’s game is the key to that streak, to the division, to our seed, and to the battle of LA. In the words of the current NBA ad campaign this game is BIG !

  12. @10 Are Sessions expectations such that answer to your question could possibly be yes?

    My contention is Lakers are better with Gasol & Sessions versus only having Paul. Glad NBA rejected trade and Lakers got to keep Gasol.

  13. Treylake: The only problem with your letting Stern off so easily is that it wouldn’t just be Kobe and CP3. It would be Kobe/CP3/D12. Stern vetoed a dynasty, and for that I am anything but glad.

  14. Kevin: Sorry I wasn’t around to back your play on Bynum, but most of your comments were on target.
    All: Here is some commentary by Mark Medina and don’t question the source on this one, because Medina is very reputable.,0,3089551.story?track=rss

  15. Oooh. I’m amped for this one. Over under on Technicals? 3? im taking the over.

    And Robert. There’s no guarantee that D12 was coming here. I don’t even think D12 knew what he wanted to do, so to say that it was going to be a dynasty, isn’t that just an assumption for the best?

    I mean, that would have been awesome, but theres nothing I’ve read that says that was a guarantee.

    I am with Treylake. I wasn’t a big fan of giving up Pau and LO for CP3. Maybe I’m just too big a Pau fan, who apparently is not really a center because even though he is 7′ tall, he isn’t strong enough… NM my mind hurts just thinking of all the caveats it takes to be a center in this league according to Aaron. :p

    Lakers off back to back this year? Anyone have that stat?

  16. @14 Whoa bro … D12 blows in the wind.
    There isn’t now or was there then anything definitive about his team affiliation.

    We do know Stern gave Lakers a mulligan on Gasol trade for CP3.

    Everything else is speculation.

  17. Ramon Sessions PER update: 17.75, tied for 17th with Jerryd Bayless among NBA point guards, behind Jarrett Jack and Isaiah Thomas, and ahead of John Wall and Jordan Farmar.

    In 11 games with the Lakers, his PER is 21.7, which would put him at 5th in the league among PGs, behind Russell Westbrook (24.0) and Tony Parker (22.2), and ahead of Stephen Curry (21.4), Kyrie Irving (21.3), and Steve Nash (21.2).

  18. Drew seems zoned in early. Hope that lasts.

  19. Poor Pau…That was over the back on that ridiculous dunk. Bynum looking very good so far!

    The contest that he had against Foye stopped an easy layup.

  20. Interesting start. Pretty sure that was over the back, but what a show of athleticism by Blake Griffin.

    Bynum is active, but looks tentative defensively, maybe a lil gassed?

    Sessions outlet passing led to an and 1 for Bynum and a foul to Kobe (but he missed both free throws.) But that is so nice to watch that rainbow outlet.

    I’m a bit surprised that Kobe is matched up against Butler (or was that on a cross match up?).

  21. We’re going to need every fully engaged to win this game. The Clippers are confident and on a winning streak.

    If the Lakers win this game, it could go a long way in repairing their propensity for losing leads.

    Andrew is schooling DeAndre.

    The Kobe System! Hope he can sustain it for 4 quarters.

    Really a dumb foul Blake.

    We need to get Pau involved and Sessions is going to have to give us at least 10 points.

  22. Kobe and Bynum look like Kobe and Shaq right now save for the missed dunk

    What a idiotic play by Blake. That was not smart

  23. Treylake: Well then let’s forget D12. If the trade was not vetoed. We would have had 3 starters in the ASG. No speculation there. Stating that Sessions is even comparable to CP3 (with the Gasol kicker) is not speculation – it is fantasy : )

  24. Kobe on fire in the first!

  25. Grabbing a lot of offensive boards, which is good to see. Giving up a lot of offensive boards as well, which is sadly normal to see!

    Good to see Drew so engaged early though.

  26. In other news Spurs are 1 game out of 1st place

  27. High pace: Favors Clippers
    Kobe feeling it: um… I don’t know who this favors because if he starts missing…
    But for now i’ll say Favors Lakers.
    Bynum being able to move well: Favors Lakers
    Pau and Sessions getting rest early: Favors Lakers.

  28. More than likely, we’ll start the 2nd quarter with Kobe and Drew on the bench. Lets see if we can sustain.

  29. @ Treylake- Sessions is nice, so is Pau. But, anytime you can trade a good player for a great player, you do it. I like CP3, Kobe, Bynum better than Pau, Kobe, Bynum as a big 3. Plus we still would have had the same trade pieces that got us Sessions and an opportunity to grab Beasley. That was a much better plan for rebuilding while contenting.

  30. Kobe Alert: KB moved by both Chambers + McHale on the def rebs list last game into 73rd place. Still needs 3 steals to tie Magic.
    24 points up on Durant for the scoring title with 12 games to go. Good start tonight. There will be no rest for #24 : )

  31. Blake Griffin is a punk. Did you see him push Ramon after that foul on Bledsoe? This is the second time I’ve seen him do something physical unnecessarily against the Lakers. He did something similar in the last game, too.

  32. Realizing that both benches are really into this game… saying this is just another game is ridiculous.

  33. What does MB see in this Blake/sessions backcourt. Goudelock can’t possibly be any worse defensively and would get a lot of open looks from 3 with sessions running point. Goudelock is one of best in league at spot up jumpers as has been discussed here before.

  34. @Paul L. How would we know that? Goudelock hasn’t played for a long time. Maybe he’s been bricking it in practice?

    Proof that everyone is amped for this game: McRoberts taking two outside jumpers in a row. :)

  35. Sustained. Now, with Kobe and Drew about to re-enter, hopefully we can push the lead up to double digits by half.

  36. LOL at Drew fighting off Kobe for the rebound.

  37. Can we stop giving up O boards? And is it really that difficult to shut down Caron Butler?

  38. Looks like C Butler is the designee for the career game against the Lakers tonight. I thought MWP was supposed to be our stopper?

  39. At least we had some good defense to close out the half. Caron Butler *is a pretty good player, and he has been on fire tonight.

  40. Zirk – Clearly it IS that difficult to slow down Caron Butler.

    Happy to be up 8 at the half. Hoping that we open the 2nd half with the quality of shooting that we showed in the 1st quarter.

  41. And is it really that difficult to shut down Caron Butler?

    I was thinking the exact same thing.

  42. Sessions 8-4-5

    Paul 7-1-8

  43. Scrambling defense against P&Rs being run by Chris Paul leads to both open spot-up shooters and offensive rebounding lanes. Sure, our bigs didn’t block out well on a couple of those rebounds, and Steve Blake being too slow, short, and unathletic led to another offensive board, but for the most part the team was in scrambling defense mode. They’re focusing on stopping both Chris Paul’s shot and the rolling bigs. It’s pick your poison, and right now Butler is shooting the lights out. If I’m Mike Brown, I tell the team at halftime to keep defending the P&R the same way and expect Butler to regress to the mean.

  44. Not a fan of the Sessions-Blake backcourt that allowed Nick Young to get a few easy baskets, but I’m glad to see modified sub patterns so either Sessions and Kobe is on the floor at all times. Gives us both an inside and outside creator at all times.

  45. Yeah, I can’t understand why MB just doesn’t go with Barnes as his backup SG. I touched on this before, but Blake is one of the worst rebounding guards in the league. I just checked his rebound rate and among the 203 qualified PGs, SGs, and SFs in the league, he’s ranked 198th. Just one more reason he shouldn’t be used as a backup SG, but what can you do? MB’s going to keep using him there.

  46. Sessions cooking CP3

  47. not sure about you guys… but I REALLY LIKE SESSIONS in the PURPLE AND GOLD.

    excuse my caps…

  48. omg – KB on that 3 point play is just too much

  49. Double digit lead alert….

  50. That’s it – Griffin with a forum shiver to Gasol’s face. It is time to put that PUNK on on the floor. Next time he comes in like that – take out his legs.

  51. Offensive foul. Blake and Lebron get away with so many BS because of there physical stature.

    Robert: oh wow take out his legs. You want guys on a stretcher

  52. Nice offensive foul there, Blake.

  53. cmon AusPhil… not with the jinx…

    @Robert. Seriously. Get McBob in there and lay him on his ass.

  54. So, no offensive foul against Griffin for elbowing Pau in the face, but they do call one on Kobe? No foul cal on CP3 tackling Sessions either on a fast break…weird stuff.

  55. Griffin is a straight up punk….metta, time to take him out.

  56. Since when are you allowed to elbow someone in the face while dunking the ball?

  57. It is time for MWP to get ejected from a game to set the tone for the playoffs – we may see this team later – so they need to know that this will not be tolerated. We just just got punked and posterized and the refs did nothing – so we must.

  58. S*ck on that And-1, Paul.

  59. Great play there by Sessions to Bynum! Lakers look like the weathered the emotional storm.

  60. bynum = godzilla

  61. This is the Bynum that I like to see on offense. He is being very quick and decisive with his moves. Not rushing it, but just very confident out there!

  62. Nice push in the back, Blake.

  63. Now they throw Gasol gets thrown into the photogs – I am sorry – Mike Brown – you must respond to this stuff – put MWP in – and tell him to take someone out

  64. If Oakley was in the league he would lay wood on Griffin for staring down his teammates

  65. Someone just needs to drop that punk*ss Griffin. He’s dirty, he flops, he whines like a b*tch, and he thinks he’s the sh*t already. I can’t stand him.

  66. Pau’s not backing down from Golden Boy. That’s good to see.

  67. This is recockulous, apparently Griffin can only commit a foul when someone else commits one on him at the same time.

  68. Kevin – I was thinking the same thing. Oak would have absolutely SMASHED Griffin by now.

    Sometimes I miss the ’90s.

  69. Zirk@65

    I cannot add anything to that masterpiece of a post. Yes, yes, yes.

    Lakers are responding well to this physical play by the Clippers. Keeping their composure and playing through it like champions.

  70. Disagree with those who says CP3 is more valuable than Gasol. No knock on CP3. There a many more talented small guards (Rondo, Williams, Westbrook, Parker, Rose) than there are skilled 7 footers.

    Will take Bynum, Gasol, Bryant and Sessions over Bryant, Bynum and CP3.

    Credit Sessions.
    Difference between CP3 and Sessions is modest.

    Difference between Lakers having Gasol and Bynum with unmatched size and skill is huge.

  71. KenOak, I think all of us Lakers fan feel that way about him.

    But you’re right. We aren’t backing down to this physical play, and we’re doing it while staying composed and focused so far.

  72. Bynum grabs ball and hurries behind three point line to jack up a three. hilarious

  73. Someone’s gotta say something when DeAndre is lumbering up the court from behind. That was like an Arch Rivals Nintendo game play there!

  74. LAkers dominating Clippers

    Bynum 29

    Kobe 27

  75. Larry Coon on Twitter: “Lakers on back end of B2B, played Gasol too many minutes last night, are getting hammered physically, and dunked on. And are still up 15.”


  76. Hard for me to believe that no one was telling RS7 to watch his back on that turnover that led to a Clippers three.

  77. Let’s hope that play at the end of the qtr doesn’t come back to haunt us…

  78. Leads disappear so quick . . .

  79. COme on Mike. It was a 6 point game all momentum for CLippers then you wait til it’s 3 for a TO

    After great success last night. Pau hasn’t seen the post today

  80. Here we go again. Are you f-ing kidding me?! Stop blowing huge leads!!!!!!!

  81. Wow, that’s what happens when Blake gets in the game….clips go on an 8-0 run. FU MB!

  82. I don’t go after MB much at all. Having said that, what they hell is up with the Sessions/Blake combination? It just doesn’t seem to work. That play at the end of the quarter shifted momentum back to the Clips. Now this is a dog-fight.

  83. Well, let’s hope that this is the final game of the Steve Blake at backup shooting guard experiment.

  84. Kevin- my thoughts exactly.

  85. delicious cherries.

  86. Cherry Picking is fun when it ends with that beautiful dunk. Time for Kobe to come in and settle people down. 1 more minute of rest for sessions….

  87. I agree, not a fan of Blake as backup shooting guard.

  88. So Bynum still not getting back on defense. Just thought I’d point that out

  89. the other Stephen April 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    “let’s not condone in victory what we wouldn’t condone in defeat,” says the great (jeff van gundy?)

  90. We let “Blake” punk us and then we let “Blake” waste our lead.

  91. Hopefully we’re prepared for a Heavy Dose of CP3.

  92. Nice swat by Pau. Griffin is really one-dimensional offensively.

  93. lol@griffin. shrimp.

  94. Paul ends up with Bynum twice and Gasol once. Where is Sessions on defense?

  95. that’s three times against Bynum. Where is Sessions?

  96. Now MWP on CP3. Perhaps we won’t switch now?

  97. Sessions turns the ball over. That’a about 3 dumb TOs tonight

  98. So Bynum has a 35/8 going. In case anyone cares.

  99. So far this year these baseball passes have been much more miss than hit. Critical TO. Welcome to crunch time.

  100. bad pass by sessions.

  101. I’m not certain that I understand the logic in switching a 7 footer to defense CP3 on the pick-and-roll. This doesn’t look so good.

  102. Bench is losing 21-9 and we have 11 TO to their 7. We spot every team points in both of these categories.

  103. KenOak 103:

    That’s because CP is specifically seeking him out to get space to work. Hate to say it, but he’s kind of brilliant like that.

  104. Good D by MWP against cp3! He picked him clean!

  105. Sessions turns the corner and gets the layup.

  106. RS7 .. Should have been an ‘And 1’

  107. That’s the way to attack the basket, Ramon! Should’ve been an and one too.

  108. Ummm. HUGE!

  109. Yeah, but then we bring MWP in and stop switching on the screen Sandy. God that was a fast move by Sessions to get to the hole. So awesome to see!

  110. in your face. terrible shot selection. but in your face.

  111. Stop. Kobe time.

  112. So basically, the clippers dont get called for blocking fouls?

  113. Kobe with the dagger!! Hopefully…

    Suck it, Clips!

  114. Kobe with a huge 2

  115. I can’t believe people are complaining about PG defense when Chris Paul forces our bigs to switch on him 😀

  116. Yeah you Griffin. Punk

  117. Foul on Golden Boy™

  118. Abbott must be turning in his hack-casket. Kobe with several “clutch” FGs

  119. Alright FB&G’ers. We have been giving Bynum some crap for his play and behavior of late. Tonight he brought it about as hard as it can be broughten’ :)

    Give him his due. He played his butt off tonight on Offense and Defense. Hats off ‘Drew.

  120. That’s four straight. My 6-1 prediction might be conservative : )

  121. Hope Abbott and Stern enjoyed that one.

    Nice win.

  122. Lakers win season series over the Clippers.

  123. Gotta love 24.

    Bynum came to play 36 pts more important 12 FTs. he never gets to the line.

    You can see guys more engaged and play together

    Robert: your prediction is on point

  124. Bynum with 36 points (13-20 and 10-12), eight rebounds, four blocks, one steal, and no turnovers. Kobe with 31 pts (13-19 and 3-5), five rebounds, six assists, and only two turnovers.

  125. Kiss my *ss, CP3!

    Ok, this is one game I’m not gonna complain too much about because it was a W against our crosstown rival, who I hate more than any team in the league, including Miami. Seriously, there’s not a single player on the Clips that I can stand. They’re all punks!

    But with that being said, I’m really getting frustrated with us constantly blowing big leads. The Clips had no business being in this game, and it all started with that play at the end of the 3rd, and then MB’s stupid lineup to start the 4th. Seriously, we really need to find a cure for blowing big leads.

    But great games by Kobe and Drew, and I liked how we didn’t back down to the rough play. With the exception of blowing a big lead again, it was a solid win. Suck it, Clips!

  126. Off topic, but I wish the league would change the rules so it doesn’t take (seemingly) 45 min in real time to work the last 2 minutes off the clock.

    How about fewer time outs, or none in the last 5 minutes? I mean, its booorrrring watching a bunch of people standing on the sidelines when there’s a game to be played!

  127. Someone needs to check for the last time Kobe and a teammate both scored 30+ where the teammate attempted more shots and shot a lower percentage.

    I honestly don’t know if that’s ever happened.

  128. R: When I get bored during a game I choose from the following: A) Go get another beer B) Search on line for a bizarre Kobe stat C) Make another annoying post on FBG

  129. Sessions had total of 35 points and 19 assist in back to back nights vs dwill and cp3. Not to shabby.

  130. … I mean, jeez, even the NHL has figured out how to improve the flow of their game; why can’t the NBA?

  131. Who is the likeliest player in the league to knock Griffin on his ass?

  132. 39 minutes for Ramon Sessions. Good job, Brown.

  133. Lakers have been playing like a team. That’s nice to see they are gearing up they haven’t peaked yet

  134. Loved seeing Bynum hip checking Sessions after his last score with a huge smile on his face. Played like a real team tonight. May very well be the best overall game of the year for the Lakers.

    Now all we need to see is the ability to maintain a lead. But this was a very big win and a potentially even bigger momentum builder down the home stretch.

    ps off topic but why is Kiki doing Fox post games commentary for both the Lakers &. Clippers? Weird.

  135. JB: This looked like a classic Kobe Shaq game.

  136. @135 – Normally, I’d say Kenyon Martin, but he’s Griffin’s teammate. Might as well be DeMarcus Cousins tomorrow night then.

  137. Now this is the Drew that we need to see every game. Focused, engaged and active on both ends of the court.

    Another good shooting night from Kobe. Played within the offense and wasn’t forcing anything.

    Excellent Team victory.

  138. Though he had a pedestrian offensive statistical day for him, (12 points 7 rebounds, 2 asst on 5-9 shooting), pau did a great job defensively on Blake Griffin. Blake had 15 points on 7-16 shooting, only had 1 made FT and was held to a -16.

    Enjoy the highlight reel Blake. Pau’s got Rings.

  139. Warren Wee Lim April 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    KOBE BRYANT last 3 games:

    16/28 40pts
    10/16 24pts
    13/19 31pts

    39/63 = .619fg%


    whoever wants to amnesty this guy raise your right hand.

  140. Nice playoff type win by the Lakers. Save for some small lapses, they played a methodical, deliberate playoff style basketball on offense and defense. My thoughts on the game:

    Kobe was very efficient tonight 13-19 fg’s and picking his spots when to attack and take over on offense

    Bynum was the ‘staple’ tonight. No double teams, and Bynum will be capable of nights like this.

    Sessions is just starting to get a taste of play on the pressure situations. Just like his errant pass to Pau late in the game, he will make some unforced errors as he has no experience (yet). In a way, it’s good for him that the last couple of games have been close. He gives the lakers a threat of penetration in the early offense and another creator in late game situations aside from Kobe which will take a lot of pressure of the defense collapsing on Kobe just like that strong drive he did.

    Pau was steady tonight on O and D. Nothing flashy, though I hope he can be on the post more instead of shooting 18-19 footers playing with the second unit when Bynum is out and he’s playing center.

    MWP came up big on D in the last 2-3mins of the game on CP3. Clean pick, strong challenges on his shots, and becoming a serviceable weakside/ball reversal 3pt threat.

    Good team win tonight.

  141. BTW, I loved our offense down the stretch. A mix of P&R, Bynum posts in the low block, Kobe coming off screens or in the pick and pop with Sessions, and a pick and pop with Sessions and Pau, who passed up an open 16-footer to kick it out to the closely defended MWP in the corner, resulting in a turnover. The latter play was the only bad possession in the final two or three minutes.

  142. Clippers were on a roll and Lakers dominated 1st half and closed like champs.

    WWL: we all knew he wouldn’t stay cold forever. Getting hot just in time

  143. @Dude, i was thinking the same thing about Kenyon Martin.

  144. Ray, I’d like to see the NBA assess Griffin a retroactive T for that play where he dunked on Pau while elbowing him in the head, then finished it by shoving Pau to the floor after the dunk. It was great how the Lakers kept their composure and opened up the lead again, and good to see both Pau and Drew reject Griffin in crunch time.

  145. @ 125: ‘Hope Abbott and Stern enjoyed that one.’

    HAHA, perfect. The elbow-dunk on Gasol was outrageous. Shameful, disgraceful, ignominious, scandalous, infamous… I must say, for a referee.

    We beat the “other” team AND the refs…


  146. Mike Brown and his staff has settled on a 8-man rotation and roles are more defined, substitution patterns are more recognizable. I like that Sessions comes out in the 3min mark, and comes back to replace Kobe to play with the second unit. Only problem is Sessions and Blake playing together in the second unit with Blake covering a 2-guard. That will be a problem with matchups in the playoffs. I think Barnes can play the two together with MWP or even Kobe.

    Since the Lakers are a top heavy team, with the 4 scorers all in the starting lineup, ‘bench’ scoring will be non-existent because the second unit is basically composed of 2 starters (Pau/Bynum and Sessions/Kobe/MWP) at any given time. They don’t have a Terry or Harden that is really a starter that they just don’t include in the first 5.

    Hopefully they address that “blake-covering-a-2-guard-getting-raped-in-the-post-good-for-10-points-per-game” situation before the playoffs. IMO, that’s how they lose a lead/fail to stretch a lead in the second and fourth quarters more than anything

  147. Excellent win
    The weak spots of bench scoring and tunrovers have been so consistent they might be unsolvable.
    The one we need to solve before the playoffs, is defense against the PG. Playing matador defense and switching to a 7 footer is clearly not the answer.

  148. Kevin, this Laker team did not exactly close like champs. They almost blew another huge lead…..again, thanks to the god awful bench. Great win none the less.

  149. BTW Zirk,

    SS&R had a recent statistical breakdown of league teams and giving up big leads. They found that all teams do it pretty often, though Lakers are in the lower half of percent lost big leads. But they weren’t particularly egregious. Miami loses a good number of leads too.

  150. @Dude,
    i was yelling at the TV when Blake shoved Pau in the back during a dunk attempt. why wasnt that a flagrant? he didnt make a move for the ball, didnt jump, he just pushed him in the back. i thought the rule was you had to go for the ball?

    Blake Griffin is gonna get hurt when he tries to pull that crap on someone else. i figure if he goes after Perkins again, Perkins is gonna go all McHale and clothesline him.

  151. Joe: it’s going to be tough to win ball games this lockout year. lakers have played well in close games.

    Does anyone know Lakers record in close games?

    I’m starting to think Lakers defense is a result of tires legs and lockout basketball. You’ve seen it with the Bulls, Heat, Okc, boston lately. Only team sustaining their great play is spurs. Well see what there about Sat.

  152. @Ray – Ohhhh, I forgot about Perkins 😀

    @Joe and kswagger – It’s not necessarily our overall bench play. As kswagger and multiple observers and I keep saying, it’s MB’s ridiculous notion that Blake can play backup SG. He’s one of the 20 worst outside shooters in the league, one of the five worst rebounders in the league, and absolutely, positively cannot guard opposing SGs. This experiment needs to end, with Barnes returning to backing up both of the SG and SF positions. I’d love to see the team’s overall plus/minus numbers when Sessions and Blake play together.

  153. Forget Oakley and the 90’s, my couz Kevin should give that punk Griffin a size 18 facial. That’s a poster worth owning. Bron and BG do get away with that like the Celtics’ moving picks. Good game tonight–playoff implications and almost playoff intensity. Ramon, read the numbers of opponents. Everyone, wake up and talk, point, scream. Good to see McBob shoot, which he can reasonably well. Now if we can get Troy to look for his shot when he’s wide open at least once in a while. Great to see Kobe defer to Drew and then, later, Ramon late in the game. Three great plays from 3 players to seal (along with free throws)–sweet

  154. Kevin: We are 9-4 in games decided by 3 points or less. We do have KB – so this is to be expected : )

  155. Robert: That good I didn’t know that. These close games are practice for Lakers.

  156. Kobe and Bynum were sublime. The 2 best players on the court by far! Sessions and Pau played well in my eyes.

    THe bench was awful, Blake is just horrible at times.

    Clippers are a big Disco GIMMICK!!! 2 stupid dunks and that’s all the media and video-game generation fans want to talk about. Gasol is still a more well-rounded (better) player than Griffin!

  157. The Lakers have won more games decided by 3 points or less than anyone else in the league. On the other hand, they have the least wins of 10 points or more of all playoff teams. Now those are some stats to ponder.

  158. Dude,

    Agree with you totally on Barnes backing up the SG/SF EXCLUSIVELY come playoff time. Blake will only have to spell Sessions (10-12mins/game) PERIOD! The mistake of Brown IMO is not giving chances (even small amounts of time and chances like end of quarters, 2-3min stretches) to Goudelock and Ebanks. These guys are athletic enough to guard bench guards of opposing teams. Now it’s near playoff time, these guys really have no business being there on the floor at any time. Brown being a disciple of Poppovich, he should have learned that with him. Now the lakers are just an 8-9 man squad thin on the guard rotation heading into the playoffs

  159. Bench haters,

    The bench (technically speaking) is Barnes, McRoberts, Blake, and sometimes Murphy. There is really no scoring threats and these are all complementary players to the starters who are with them — Gasol or Bynum, Sessions or Kobe. So the scoring burden is really still with the starters. Any ‘bench’ production is through hustle points, transition layups or spot ups. So the ‘bench’ guys assignments are really mostly on the defensive side of the ball, and thats where we should really judge them. With that said, Gasol needs to be more forceful at the start of the 2nd and 4th quarters when he is the focal point of the offense. Sessions needs to be more ‘selfish’ when he comes back after his first and third quarter rests, coz really, him and Gasol are the only ones capable of creating for themselves and for the ‘bench’ guys out there with them

  160. Kswagger8: So I am certainly not going to argue with you that we have no scoring threats on our bench. Now how did that happen? Are you trying to get me to talk about the FO again? : )

  161. Frank the Tank April 5, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Robert –

    We tried to pick up Beasley before the deadline, and also it was reported attempted to get Crawford. Both of these players would have eaten into our TPE. The FO did the best they could with what is available. I have read you say that they didn’t at LEAST 20 times, which is especially frustrating when you don’t even mention that they went after these players. Please give it a rest!

  162. Robert,

    We have four consistent and legitimate scoring threats on our team. Name a team with 5. Maybe Memphis with Gasol, Gay, Mayo, Randolph, Conley (borderline). The fact is, most teams have 4 but talent is somewhat redundant so many play high production players off the bench. Harden on OKC is a good example, as is OJ Mayo on Memphis. The one exception is San Antonio, which has nine (!) players averaging 8 or more points a game.

    The difference with the Lakers is that we run all our top talent on the starting unit, which puts the impetus on our coach to thin that talent out in combination with our “second unit.” Describing them as role players + starters is accurate, but I think other teams have this same “problem”; meaning no team is 5+ deep with all-star caliber players. We need to adjust our expectations and Brown needs to adjust the lineups.

    The best suggestion I’ve heard, rotations rule of thumb:

    1) Avoid sessions/Blake back court, which means Kobe should be playing with Blake all 12-16 minutes he’s on the floor.

    2) Get Gasol more alone time as center (16 minutes Bynum is off the floor), freeing up the lane and landing him more post touches. I think Murphy and Barnes should see the majority of minutes that Gasol plays center. Meaning that Sessions should get called on point.

    These moves would pair Kobe and Bynum together quite a bit, which means they need to share the rock. If last game is any indication, its definitely possible.

  163. The lakers is the #1 team