Lakers/Clippers: Times Are Changing

Rey Moralde —  April 7, 2013

This wasn’t exactly fun for the Lakers fans. After a triumphant win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, the Lakers lose control of their destiny once again as they lose to their crosstown rivals, the Clippers, 109-95.

The Lakers never recovered after the Clips boosted the lead to 13 early in the second half. From then on, the Lakers tried to play catch-up, and with tired legs against an uptempo team, there was little chance of the Lakers overcoming the younger Clippers.

With Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, and Jordan Hill (of course) all out, Coach Mike D’Antoni opted to use only seven guys in the rotation. I’m not sure if I agree with that, especially with the playoffs coming near. If the Lakers do make the postseason, they’re probably only going to play without legs because they would’ve fallen off by then.

In the first quarter, the Lakers played some good defense, making some sound defensive rotations and making the Clips take some difficult shots. But after that, it all disappeared and the Clippers started to run amok at Staples Center. Kobe played facilitator (10 assists) for most of the game but never got going with his shooting, finishing 6 of 19 (going 12 of 14 from the line gave him 25 total points). Dwight Howard played a decent game, going for 25 points and four blocks. However, his rebounding was nonexistent as he finished with four boards. Pau Gasol flirted with a triple-double, going for 12 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. Earl Clark started off strong and finished with 11 points.

Where the Clippers killed the Lakers was rebounding. The Clips had 50 compared to the Lakers’ 36. It must have been real frustrating for the Laker fans to see the Clips hit the boards as the Lakers, on some possessions, were just standing around. Not ideal.

It didn’t help that the Clippers were making some tough shots and the Lakers were missing some wide open ones. Kobe didn’t have it going. Steve Blake missed some open corner threes. Earl Clark missed some open ones, too, after a fast start. And then you had Chris Paul making floaters, Caron Butler making buzzer-beating shots, and even Blake Griffin making three-pointers. Just a bad combination for the Lakers.

Congrats to the Clippers for winning their first Pacific Division title and sweeping the Lakers for the first time ever. As for the Lakers, they’re going to be fighting for that playoff spot once again. With this loss, they have fallen to 40-37, the same record as the Jazz. However, the Jazz have the tiebreaker so, as of now, the Lakers are on the outside looking in.

The Lakers have five games left. They may have to run the table to make the postseason. So each game from here on out, they’re going to have to go in with clear eyes and full hearts.

Just hope they still have enough on their legs, Coach D’Antoni.

Rey Moralde

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44 responses to Lakers/Clippers: Times Are Changing

  1. This team would need to be 105% healthy to have any chance in a 7 game series against, well..anyone. That’s not happening this year. D’Antonio is a good coach, I’m sure but he isn’t a master juggler like some coaches and his propensity to only use 7 or 8 players on any given night smacks of near idiocy considering the age of the Lakers. But he’s a pro and I am not so I will move on from that thought..lol

    TAke another run at it next year and then blow this thing up. It’s the end of the line no matter how you slice it and the cost of winning back to backs is being paid in big time ways. If they hold onto Howard , I feel confident they will rebuild a Lakers team we can all be proud of. Expiring contracts are our only friend at this point..and that’s another year away.

  2. Fact of the matter is that, this season, our Co-Tenants are a better team. By quite a large margin. Point fingers all you want in regards to today’s game (Dwight’s rebounding, Kobe’s shooting, SB missing wide open treys, Turnovers ..), but keep in mind that they man-handled us in every game this season, IMSC.

    Hopefully, Mark Jackson’s squad does us a favor later on tonight; come Tuesday, we win by a comfortable margin against the Pelicans (which will allow us to rest a few of the ‘Magnificent 7′) and then head to 1 of our favorite buildings on Wednesday night and gut out a victory against a rabid fan base that will enjoy nothing more than helping to put the nail in our coffin.

    I know the fact that we were swept by our Co-Tenants this season is just killing Kobe. His demeanor painted that picture all so clearly.

  3. I moved this game into the loss column when Nash couldn’t play. Like it or not this is a top heavy team that only goes 9 deep and we need all 9 to beat the top teams on any kind of consistent basis. Both Morris and Duhon had a lot of games to prove themselves and failed. Duhon brings nothing to the table. While Morris can play a little D he is a train wreck on offense. Even though Ebanks failed with every chance he had under 3 different coaches an argument that his sample size should have been bigger before writing him off as well. Bottom line is week could have played any of those guys but we still would have lost this game.

    Nash is the guy who might have made a difference. Kobe wouldn’t need to run the offense every play but more importantly he’s a shooter that you have to respect. We could do much on the inside in the 2nd half because no one could hit a shot and the Clippers packed the paint on us. If we don’t get Nash back soon at least by the Spurs game it will be very tough for us to make the playoffs unless Utah falls apart.

  4. Kobe tried to do everything to win…..Next time Lakers will win cause Kobe got some rest at the end…he will take the Lakers to the playoffs……

  5. In an amusing example of what being a semi-closeted hater does to one’s analytical skills, CA Clark over at SSR blamed Kobe for playing 47 minutes today.

    I was glad to see Harvey M admit that MDA shouldhave called off the dogs in this one. MDA was just silly in this one.

  6. Kobe love – Kobe hate.

    If Wilt couldn’t take a team to the finals all by himself, Kobe certainly isn’t going to.

    When this team got down by 13 in the 2nd I really don’t understand MDA’s not expanding the roster. It was obvious the players had no legs. We were down double digits. Where does it say the percentages were with us staying with veterans with tired legs to catch up to an athletic team that was beating us off the boards? I simply don’t get it – sometimes stubborn is just “stupid” with another name.

  7. As I said on Laker line.

    We live in Bazzaro World.
    Lakers became the Clippers.
    Sterling became Jerry Buss.
    Jimmy boy became Old Sterling.
    30 teams in NBA and only one has played 7 in any of past 10 games.
    Highest payroll in NBA history doesn’t make the playoffs.
    Lakers have no draft choices next two years.

    Kramer couldn’t come up with this bazzaro stuff.

    Please end this season. Fire Mitch. Fire Mike. Fire coaches. Fire scouts. Start all over. Kings have been future then this current group and they don’t even have a city to play in yet.

    Bazzaro World.

  8. Funky Chicken April 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    When you drive your car with the tachometer in the red for long stretches, you tend to develop engine failure. Morris, Ebanks, Duhon, and Sacre may not be good NBA players, but running 7 guys into the ground night after night is a recipe for failure. If not immediately, then soon.

    One could argue that the Lakers would still lose if the DNPCD’s on the roster were given some playing time, but the counterargument is that at least those losses would result in fresher starters for the next game.

    I see plenty that MDA can be criticized for, but his over reliance on 7 (mostly old) guys is putting this team in the position where they will have absolutely nothing left for a playoff run–which may, of course, be irrelevant now that Utah controls its own destiny. And, for those who argue that there are no back to backs in the playoffs, the Lakers haven’t gone .500 in the last 10 games based on back to backs. This is team running on fumes–but I guess the coach can recycle his early season “just wait til Nash gets back” spin for a few more games….

  9. GSW could be giving a W to the Jazz, sucks to wait for others team game results to see our future. Just hoping that we can reach playoffs and wait for MIRACLE to save us.

  10. Tough game in a tough year.
    Rob D got it right in the second paragraph of the first post. This was a two year gamble.

  11. Ken,
    You are truly full of beans.

    Yeah! The solution is to fire everyone. Thank goodness you don’t have anything to do with running the Lakers.

    Out!

  12. We threw in the towel when they decided not to sign any nba players before the ASG.

    Mike james..kenyon martin…and more were out there.

    This year was a waste…

  13. The FO took many gambles past off-season, some worked some didn’t.

    We dodged a bullet with Bynum, but got bombarded with injuries everywhere, from Kobe, Dwight, Pau, Nash, Metta, Clark, Blake, and Jamison.

    The coaching choices leave something to be desired and may be the only part where the FO screwed up, starting from the M Brown hiring.

  14. Jazz now have the 8th seed. In a sense, it’s another part of a Season of Peaks and Valleys. Well, mostly valleys so far. There’s still time…..but not very much.

  15. Still have some faith in this team.

    The fact is OKC, Clips and Denver is our worst nightmare. They have speed, athleticism and youth. Spurs and Grizz can play half court off and def. Playoffs are all about match ups.

    Hang in there guys, hang in there! Don’t quit!!!

    We’re running out of time this season but we’re not running out of Faith.

    Bleed purple and gold. where’s yours??

  16. My take from this game is that…I feel that we’re very dependable on Jamison and Meeks. When those 2 are hitting their shots, we normally prevail.

    Today was not one of those days.

  17. If Jazz closes 3-1, LA should be 5-0. If 2-2, LA should be 4-1.

    Damn, I just looked at the schedule and I almost cry, Man.

    This might be the worst feeling in this team.

    I’m still positive though..

  18. the season from Hell…there is no one to blame but ourselves, despite all the injuries there were at minimum 5 games (being nice) that we gave away this year. Yes, all teams let ones slip away but not like this year. Its so frustrating….Im hoping we can dig ultra deep and get into the playoffs, all of our remaining games are “winnable.”

    Kudos to Kobe…there isn’t much more we could ask for from a superstar, here we have a 34 year old 17 years in (19 with minutes and mileage) to score at will, defend, facilitate, be playmaker, play every minute of the game, play through injury, get guys shots, make guys happy, oh and be a top 10 in minutes played…there is no one in the league and in recent NBA history that is asked to do everything like this. He has literally given his all. Hats off. Thee very definition of Warrior

  19. Injuries are injuries, and blameless by themselves, but Steve Nash sitting on the bench again underscores just how disastrous a signing he has been this year, I’m afraid. It was hard to see at the time – I liked the acquisition, and thought it was a nice and unexpected pickup, although I was skeptical he was going to play at an MVP level – and although I rooted hard against Nash for years, he seems like a good guy who certainly doesn’t want to be sitting out the most important stretch of the year. He’s obviously had a terrific career.

    But, facts are facts:

    (1) Injuries took him out for a long stretch at the start of the year and now at the finish, arguably the two most important points of the season.
    (2) When healthy, he has played well at times, but never has had a consistently dominant influence on any stretch of games.
    (3) The (understandable) hope that his presence would lighten the load on Kobe proved to be a bust, as Kobe was forced to play chief distributor and scorer even when Nash was in the lineup.
    (4) His presence confused the identity of the team – in a way that a more pedestrian PG like Ramon Sessions would not – because his career accomplishments led people to believe he could run an uptempo offense and galvanize a team’s identity in a way he seems unable to do any more, and which ill befits his current roster.
    (5) His presence also seems to have directly led to the hiring of Mike D’Antoni, based on their past success, which hasn’t worked out very well.
    (6) And the Lakers gave up draft picks to get him – sad as it is to say, the booby prize of missing the playoffs and getting a lottery pick isn’t even an option.

    The season’s still going, and maybe Nash will hit a jumper to beat Houston on the last day of the season to put the Lakers into the playoffs. That’d be great! Right now, though, the season’s been one big dunk on his head, like the one Kobe put on him in the ’06 playoffs.

  20. Good analysis from Kevin Arnovitz at True Hoop about this game.

    It got me to thinking: Since MD can’t or won’t set up a viable defensive scheme for the Lakers and can’t or won’t manage KB’s minutes, what exactly IS he is doing that contributes to the team’s success? Other than the very welcome fact that he’s not Mike Brown, I mean.

  21. Jazz are very much in the driver’s seat now. Lakers need to get it together over these last 5 games or they’ll be on the outside looking in. Did anyone who follows basketball expect that this team might miss the playoffs? Wow.

  22. This from Robert, last thread: “Sorry everyone – first post did not work and drops to a record of 10-5.”

    That’s still a winning percentage of 67%, much better than our heroes have done this year. Plus, for the most part you have been more entertaining than them, as well. So don’t feel too bad!

  23. Craig I was just kidding. Sort if. Although in most companies its management who pays the price. Clearly changes must be made. This isn’t another 2nd round 50 win season. This is probably a zero and out and as Robert points out only the 2nd time in 17 years for Kobe.

    This is a complete and utter failure. It would be like Apple Projecting two billion in profits and instead losing a billion. Stock holders would call for the heads of management. We who have vested interest time wise are in part the investors.

    Wonder what you think will change next year? Nash will get younger and less breakable? Meeks will learn how to make a layup? Metta won’t stop dribbling in circles’. Dwight will learn how to make free
    throws? Mike Daaa will realize 7 is not a lucky number after not coaching a team to the playoffs 3 years in a row? Stern will feel bad
    and grant them their first round picks back? Jimmy will turn team over to Phil or West and go back to pitching hay?

    Salary penalties are worse next year and this team has zero young players of worth under contact. Clark and Dwight can walk. They are
    paying the two Mikes $9 million next year and will lose $30 million plus by having no playoffs games as opposed to 14 or 15 predicted my most in the media or this site.

    So please tell me what indeed will change so I can eat more beans and feel better about next year. If you think all management comes back and a team of Kobe, Kobe, Kobe Pau and Nash sounds good then I know nothing. That’s all that under contract and it’s $59 million.

    Beans, beans, beans.

  24. Marc gasol, hollins and jordan all frustrated dwight early and it affected his play the rest of the night. This is winning time and Dwight is showing a losers mentality. Given up on plays and letting the opposition frustrate him hurting the Lakers in the process. Some of those fouls weren’t “basketball plays” as Lebron would call them. Like the Jordan hack and Crawford’s dangerous over the back foul on the lob, but Dwight has to be mentally stronger and bring it when things are tough early on. Getting to basketball, I can’t remember a center who stood out of bounds as much as Dwight does on offense.Clark and Pau will cut to the basket so Kobe can get them the ball Dwight doesn’t. He takes himself out of plays far too often. If this is part of D’Antoni’s coaching then he must be replaced. Dwight’s timing on offense isn’t great for his PnR’s, cutting to the basket and his post moves. Aside from a 6 minute stretch in the 3rd quarter and his ft shooting Dwight didn’t have a good game no matter what the final numbers say. Maybe i’m expecting too much but Lakers need superstars who turn it on from April on like Kobe and Pau have.

    Back to back against young teams who know they’ll have the opportunity to knock the Lakers out of the playoffs spells disaster. Strong chance Lakers miss the playoffs schedule doesn’t let up and coaching isn’t helping matters.

  25. May have a post in mod. Thing to think of is Clark and Dwight can walk. Metta player option. That leaves zero guys under 30 signed and zero drafts. Only three signed next year are Kobe, Pau and Nash at $59 million which is the max cap.

    Who’s fault is that?

  26. Funky,

    That is my opinion, in that running Morris out there for about 15 minutes today would obviously not have resulted in a W. But the Lakers absolutely must beat New Orleans; recall that last time they played there, they pulled off a great comeback in the 4th but were down more than 20 in the 3rd. If their legs are gone in the 4th on Tuesday and they lose to the Pelicans–that’s it. I see no realistic route to the 8th spot if they can’t win that game. It is bigger than the Clippers game was.

    I have defended D’Antoni some, but he was simply foolish today.

  27. if you somehow get an 8 min. blow for Kobe does that do enough to turn the game? I don’t think so, but obviously others disagree.

    That is Harvey from the other thread. You need to take the blinders off on this one, buddy. MDA played Kobe 47 today in a game that the Lakers were not in at any point after early in the 3rd. No excuses today.

  28. Kobe is not going to let the Lakers not make the playoffs…If he was on Miami…..instead of Lebron…Miami would’ve broke the win streak record….what do you think?

  29. It will truly be a stressful two weeks before the end of the season. At this point, the Lakers cannot do anything but win out to make it easier on themselves. But no matter what the reasons you can come up with, it just has been a frustrating season. Injuries, coaching decisions, coaching changes, more injuries, bad timing on losses to inferior teams, it has been a tough year.

    But tough years come. It’s easy to point blame on who did wrong. The easiest target by a lot of people is to blame Jerry Buss. But that makes no sense. Jerry Buss did A LOT this year. Bringing in Dwight (trading Bynum), keeping Pau, Getting Nash, bringing in Earl Clark. The Lakers are WAY over the cap in an effort to bring a winning team. Now, in retrospect it is easy to blame his decision on passing over Phil Jackson (I remember stating that I would have been ecstatic with Jackson coming back but was optimistic to have D’Antoni hired), but there’s no guarantee that Phil could have fixed this team either.

    The best part about the rough years is the reminder that winning in this league is extremely difficult and the fact that the lakers have been winning a lot has been a blessing.

    and can we please not call Jerry Buss the new Donald Sterling. Donald sterling would never spend this much money.

  30. I guess we just have to prepare to watch a bad team for the next few years

    Look forward to the 2016 draft

  31. Right now, LeBron is just the better player, period. I don’t think there’s a way to contest this at this stage of their respective careers. This isn’t 2008 anymore, when there still was some room for debate.

    So unless Dwight becomes a true #2 player in the league, our future is, practically now.

  32. I didn’t see LeBron playing in the Laker-Clipper game. #1 player, #2, whatever… It’s about team, not Kobe or Dwight, who rely on their teammates. The Clippers are deeper, quicker, more athletic, etc.., so their stars can lead them to wins.

  33. rr,

    thanks for the one compliment and too bad about the other. I do think he should have given other players a run tonight. all I was saying in that other quote is that I doubt that would have changed the outcome of the game…… but I suppose, a) there is some chance it might have and b) it would have set them up better for Tuesday, as you suggested.

    By the way, and this is why I will never ever again make any bold predictions about outcomes, I should have never made a comment about your 50/50 odds thing. Will never do that again.

    i expected the two games today to go in the opposite direction, (i.e Lakers win, and Utah loss) and that the lakers would be sitting pretty after today (though I did expect Nash to play today). and instead of them sitting pretty tonight as I had expected they are “in deep”….must win Tuesday and hope OKC shows up in Utah and there are no missteps there, as otherwise I think its actually over the boys in yellow and purple.

  34. Harvey,

    Indeed, and that is why I was really frustrated with MDA today. If they run out of gas on Tues and lose, that is probably it, and they have not been able to deal with the Clippers all year. Better to take a 30-point beatdown and be a little fresher for Tuesday.

    OKC should be motivated; they have dropped 1 game behind SA and would presumably like HCA. But Utah is playing well and is tough at home.

  35. MD’A should have had enough cojones to try and develop the back end of his bench early in the season. Instead he stubbornly and desperately tried to win every game by playing a small rotation and running Kobe into the ground. Mgmt. also did nothing at the trading deadline to augment a team depleted by injury. We see the result.

  36. Tough game,tough loss.
    Hope we make the playoffs.
    Congrats to Kobe becoming first player over 34 to amass 2000 points and 400 assists.

  37. We needed to trade Bynum for a quick defensively minded point guard and a stretch 4 that can rebound, and move Pau back to the 5. People can sometimes complain about Kobe’s defense, but look at what we have asked him to do over the last few years. Play point guard on defense to cover up for the defincies in speed at the PG position, play PG on offense because no else on the team can facilitate the offense (having a Lamar at the top of his game was a big deal during the championship runs), and now that Metta is injured, he must play SF while doing all the aforementioned things. And Dwight, nexty time you go for a rebound, try grabbing the ball instead of tipping it.

  38. D’Antoni should have recognized what was going on in the third quarter, put in some backups with fresh legs and see what happens. It was highly unlikely the Lakers could come back against the Clippers, motivated by the huge Laker fan base, like they did against Charlotte and Toronto. They have only one day off until a back to back with two winnable games and not too much travel. He should have pulled the plug and gotten the starters more rest. This is where guys like Popovich and Jackson excel.

    It looks like the Lakers are going to miss the playoffs unless other teams mail it in, though it’s just as likely that they drop even further with GS/HOU fighting to avoid SA/OKC in the first round, SA trying to knock the Lakers out of the playoffs to play the Jazz, losing the 2nd of a back to back…

    My guess is they see what Pau might get them on the trade market but I hope they only pull the trigger for either a starting PF and 2 solid bench players (backup C, backup SG/SF) on good contracts. I’m more and more convinced that Dwight will stay based on how he talks, unless Chris Paul wants to team with him and Josh Smith in ATL for less money. I really think D’Antoni is a very average coach, all things considered. My ideal situation would be Phil coming back for one year with Shaw as his assistant and in line to take over the following year.

  39. 17th season: 27 pts 5.5 reb 6.1 ast 1.3 stl 46/32/83. Games played 75 of 77
    PER: 22.7 TS%: 56% WS: 10

    9th season: 21.3 pts 5 reb 5 ast 1.9 stl 52/25/74. Games played 66 of 76
    PER: 24.1 TS%: 57% WS: 9.2

    3rd season: 25.8 pts 4.8 reb 5.9 ast 1.8 stl 44/37/86. Games played 73 of 77.
    PER: 23.3 TS%: 60% WS: 12.5

    Kobe should be 1st team all nba again. Considering Wade has missed 10 games and has the MVP on his team. Harden’s defense is just as bad and Kobe means as much to his team as Harden. Lakers having such a dissapointing season may seem like Kobe hasn’t done enough but he’s done as much as his competitors for his top SG spot. Only argument can be made for Harden but I still think Kobe is 1st team all nba because neither of those guys have distinctively pulled away in terms of being the better player.

  40. Kevin: Agreed. He will get it. It will not even be close. He will probably be #3 overall, both in the All NBA votes as well as the MVP race (possibly #4 but no lower in both cases). Dwight will also get first team.

  41. Some of the comments about the structure of the Lakers Salary I do have to remind them, these contracts were made before the current CBA was created. It was very disciplined to have so many salries expire with Kobe’s and rebuild. Unfortunately, next year they face a structural salary problem and it looks like management is faced with bad choices or worse for next year at least.

  42. That was just a flat out tired team. Kobe looked gassed at the end of the Memphis game, and it ran over to this one. Maybe if D’Antoni had played the bench more they would have more losses and already be out of it. I am not sure.

    But this bunch will be dead in the playoffs if they get there. No legs, guys playing hurt (Kobe, Antawn).

    I just think that Morris could give you, say, 8 serviceable minutes. So could Ebanks, who has length and athletic ability. And Sacre could give 5 minutes of pure effort when needed. Some combo or subset of that group could have kept the starters fresh, and maybe with some youth and energy actually won more games.

    I am not hard on Coach D. He took over after camp and has dealt with more casualties than the 4077th. But his failure to find rotation options has killed what small hope this season had.

  43. People leep harping about draft picks, the Lakers havent had a good 1st round pick since Bynum,next draft its going to be a weak one and if the Lakers finish 8 or 9th we are not getting anything really worth even if they have the picks. I dont know but people here even follows what the real Lakers plan is? Do you guys even know? They gamble triying to win a 6th one with Kobe without compromising the team long term, but the real goal have been July 1st 2014 at least since 2010. The Lakers dont rebuild thru the draft, they reload we all know that. If we sign Howard that would be great if we dont we are going to be more than 60 mill under the cap with only Nash on the books not a single team is close to that cap space, and we all know players like to come play here, thats why they havent offered anyone nothing beyond next season. Im dissapointed in the season but im optimistic in the Lakers prospects long term.

  44. And people complain about Jim Buss and the FO but we forget that the first move he made was trading for Chis Paul and that trade was fair, if those whinners like Cuban and Gilbert didnt had their little tantrum the Lakers would be better off and im convinced we would had still get Howard.If there is someone to blame for the Lakers temporary predicament blame it on the league Cant blame the guy for triying and i actually support most of his financial moves like i said the team have its ducks in a row for 2014, coaching? Not so much lol.