There is no sugar-coating it if you’re a basketball fan in Los Angeles. This town is known as a Lakers town and probably always will be.
But we live in the moment and at this moment the Clippers run Los Angeles. And run it the Clippers did Thursday night at Staples Center leading by as many as 51 points on their way to a sixth straight win beating the Lakers 142-94 in front of a Lakers home crowd that was stunned by the Clippers display of superior athleticism.
The 48 point margin of victory for the Clippers is the largest in franchise history as well as the largest margin of defeat in Lakers franchise history.
The game started well enough for the Lakers. Down 13-9 with a little more than three minutes gone in the first, the Lakers reeled off eleven straight points to take a 20-13 lead.
That’s when Clippers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout. Something he said must’ve turned on a switch. Out of that timeout the Clippers reeled off a 14-0 run taking a 27-20 lead with two and a half minutes left in the quarter and that was all she wrote.
Sure, the Lakers did go on a little 7-to-2 run to make the score 29-27 Clippers after one. But the game was done at that point.
In the second quarter, the Clippers – who shot 55% for the game - outscored the Lakers 44-13 to take a 73-40 lead into the break. The Lakers were held to 40% from the field turning the ball over 22 times resulting in 26 Clipper points.
“Turnovers. Not getting back defensively and not moving the ball well enough” said Lakers center Pau Gasol after being asked how the game got away. He added “We did not create plays for each other and that’s how it started to fall apart.”
“I think we were trying to do too much offensively in that first quarter” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. “We had 10 turnovers, they got out on the break and that’s how they wanted to play. We just felt if we stopped turning the ball over and take them out of their fast breaks it would be on our defense.”
Lawler’s Law – first team to 100 – took effect with just over four minutes left in the third quarter when Matt Barnes nailed three of his17 points to make the score 102-56. The score at the end of the third read 109-60, Clippers over the Lakers.
The Clippers starters never left the bench for the fourth quarter.
All five were in double figures led by Darren Collison with 24 points. Blake Griffin – named the western conference player of the month for February – nailed a franchise record 21st consecutive 20 point game hitting the number dead on and grabbed eleven rebounds. Chris Paul finished with 13 points and eleven assists and DeAndre Jordan drained 14 points and grabbed 12 boards.
A quick turnaround for the Lakers (21-41) who play in Denver Friday night. For Gasol – who led the Lakers with 21 – it’s time to move on.
“You cannot focus and dwell on this game, or it will really get you down. You just have to understand we have a tough back-to-back with the Nuggets so we need a better mindset and energy.”
The Clippers improved to 43-20 and have a day to rest up before returning to Staples Center Saturday night as the home team to take on the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off for that one is set for 7:40pm.