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