It was a tale of two teams in Los Angeles Friday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers (26-13) thoroughly smashed the under-manned Lakers (14-23) before a Clippers sellout crowd – their 20th of the season, 123-87.
The 36-point margin of victory was the largest for the Clippers over the Lakers in their history beating the previous mark by five points in February of 1992.
The Clippers trailed 3-0 after 20 seconds. They led 22-21 eight minutes in then went on a 19-4 run to end the first leading 43-25. And that’s all she wrote.
“They just jumped all over us with their athleticism.” Said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni who only had one point guard at his disposal on his well-documented, injury-depleted team. “We turned the ball over, which is one of our problems, and we couldn’t keep up with them.”
The Clippers turned 21 Laker turnovers into 37 points.
“It’s frustrating especially for a game like tonight against a rival.” Said Lakers guard and former Clipper Nick Young who finished with eleven off the bench. “This game is supposed to be fun and we’re supposed to enjoy but when it rolls like that, it’s embarrassing.”
Blake Griffin led everyone with 33 points and 12 rebounds in the blowout win. According to Griffin the season-opening 116-103 loss to the Lakers was motivation for the Clippers.
“Anytime a team beats you, you always want to get back at them however you can.”
In that opening day loss, the Lakers humiliated the Clippers with 76 points off the bench. Tonight, the Clippers returned the favor by only giving up eight third quarter points leading by as many as 43.
“Every game it seems like the third quarter we struggle.” Said Pau Gasol who had just ten points and eight boards for the Lakers. “It’s something consciously we have to do a better job on and come out with confidence, come out with aggressiveness, decisive and also just trying to stop people.”
Tonight marked the return of sharp-shooter J.J. Redick for the Clippers. He was lost for five weeks after a small break in his right hand suffered in Sacramento.
“I was obviously out a long time, so the worry was that I would just take a little bit of time to find my rhythm.” Said Redick who scored a quick eight points immediately out of the gate finishing with 19 points connecting on eight of 15 shots in his return. “To get that rhythm the first four minutes was surprising but very nice.”
DeAndre Jordan finished with 13 points and 12 boards for the Clippers. Point guard Darren Collison – playing for injured Chris Paul – had 20 and Jamal Crawford poured in eleven off the bench.
Former D-Leaguer Kendall Marshall led the Lakers with 16 points and ten assists. Robert Sacre and Wesley Johnson each had 14 and Jodie Meeks added eleven.
It’s the Lakers tenth loss in their last eleven games while the Clippers won their fifth of their last six.
Both teams are off this weekend before each returns to host games at Staples Center. The Lakers host the Cleveland Cavaliers Tuesday night and the Clippers host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.