Lakers/Clippers: Little Brother’s All Grown Up Now

Rey Moralde —  January 4, 2013

Box Score: Lakers 102, Clippers 107

If you didn’t watch the game, don’t let that score fool you.

It was another one of those games where the Lakers weren’t in control for most of the game. They did have that one fleeting chance to steal the victory; that was when they were down, 99-97. Unfortunately, Dwight Howard fouled out after getting Chris Paul from behind with the body (hey, hey, this is a family-oriented blog). Kobe’s three went in and out the following possession. Then CP3 basically sealed it with a long two.

Are we tired of Kobe carrying the Lakers this entire time? Yes, he’s fun when he explodes like this but he was supposed to take a much lighter load this season and he’s taken the heavy load pretty much in every game. 38 points and an efficient 15-25 shooting, even though a lot of them were tough jumpers.

Dwight Howard went for 21 and 15. The Lakers made a concerted effort to get him going early. But he seemed like he was cruising out there like most of the team. Steve Nash had 12 points (on four shots) and 10 assists and I think he needed to shoot more since most of the other guys outside of Kobe and maybe Dwight aren’t doing it offensively. Jodie Meeks was a maddening 3 of 13 for 14 points. I can only laugh like an idiot when he drives in but it has to be one of the more frustrating sights for the Laker fans.

Oh, yeah. Pau Gasol.

If you can find me another game that’s worse than this performance, let me know. Pau Gasol went for a quiet two points and four boards in 27 minutes today. For the most part, he was hanging out on the perimeter, where you don’t want him. And then when he’s at the post, he can’t even jump over a snail. Pau has no lift whatsoever and it makes us think on whether he should get more rest or he really has lost that much confidence on his game. So is this what Coach Mike D’Antoni and Pau talked about during their dinner date? Tell Gasol to hang around the outside and be Quentin Richardson or Steve Novak? He only got into the fourth quarter because Jordan Hill (13 points and 7 rebounds), one of the few players that played really well in this game, hurt his leg late in the game. I’m a huge defender of Pau but even I think he needs a change of scenery at this point. Maybe Atlanta. Toronto. Spain. Antarctica. Saturn. Anywhere.

Anyway, the Clippers basically did whatever they wanted. Chris Paul put Darius Morris in a blender earlier, it wasn’t even funny. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were having magic carpet flights all over Staples Center. And all the Clippers were outhustling the Lakers for most of the game (47-36 rebound edge by the Clips). If it wasn’t for a late rally by the Lakers and if Jamal Crawford actually played in the game (he sat out with a sore foot), the Clippers would’ve won by 147 points. Defense for the Lakers in this game (most of the season) is like me trying to speak Swahili.

So Dwight is still banged up. Pau Gasol probably wants his mommy. Jodie Meeks is stumbling all over the place when he’s dribbling. Jordan Hill’s injuries are mounting up. There are also point guard woes outside of Steve Nash. And the Lakers are being carried by a 17-year shooting guard veteran who somehow still leads the league in scoring. I’m not sure if it’s been brought up before here but at what point do we just say that this team is mediocre? It’s been 32 games. They’re 15-17. They’d have to go 35-15 the rest of the way to win 50 games. And they’ll likely need to win 45 games to make the postseason in the West. Hello? Anybody?

If the Lakers learn that a basketball game is being played for 48 minutes… if Dwight Howard gets healthy… if Steve Nash can regain his MVP form… if Metta World Peace can consistently hit his shot… if Steve Blake becomes the answer to their back-up point guard woes… if Kobe Bryant can keep up his stupendous season… if Jordan Hill can continue his hustle and stay healthy…

Yeah, there are too many ifs. Until they prove they can actually win basketball games, the Lakers will continue to be a mediocre team. Yeah. I wish I could shut my playboy mouth but this is the reality.

Be right back. I’m going to start digging graves.

Oh, yeah. Congrats, Phil and Jeanie. Hey, I had to end it at a positive note somehow.

Rey Moralde