Rapid Reaction: Lakers 116, Clippers 103
October, 29, 2013
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- This wasn't the kind of game the Los Angeles Clippers expected when they looked across the Staples Center court at the players wearing Los Angeles Lakers warm-ups on Tuesday night.
Fully healthy for the first time since the opening of training camp, the Clippers were facing a Lakers team without Kobe Bryant, starting Shawne Williams (who?) and relying on Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar off the bench.
On paper, and perhaps in the Clippers' minds, it would be an easy opening-night victory and the beginning to what is projected to be the greatest season in Clippers history. In the end, it was yet another reminder that Los Angeles is still a Lakers town and the Clippers have a lot of improving to do before they can be taken seriously as championship contenders.
The Lakers' 116-103 win over the Clippers can be chalked up to many things but none more so than the Lakers' explosive second unit, which outscored the Clippers 76-34. It was an embarrassingly wide margin that was reminiscent to what the Clippers did to the Lakers last season when they swept the four-game season series for the first time in team history.
Time will tell if Tuesday was a one-game aberration or a sign of things to come, but for one night anyway, the basketball hierarchy in Los Angeles was restored to its historical order.
How it happened: The Lakers ran away from the Clippers in the fourth quarter of what had been a tight game through three quarters. The Lakers outscored the Clippers 41-24 in the final period and shot 75 percent from beyond the arc as the Clippers shot just 47.4 percent from the field.
What it means: The Clippers have to get a lot better if they're going to be serious contenders in the West. They have to get better in almost every facet of the game, particularly on defense where they were absolutely dismantled by a Lakers team that was projected to finish out of the playoffs by most, and played with a unit that, on paper, might be lucky to crack 40 wins this season.
Hits: There weren't many for the Clippers on the night. Let's see, Chris Paul had 15 points and 11 assists. Um, DeAndre Jordan had 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Oh, and Jamal Crawford also scored 15 points off the bench. That's about it.
Misses: There were a lot for the Clippers. There was Blake Griffin's going 3-for-10 from the free-throw line and having four turnovers. There was the Clippers' bench, which was basically non-existent outside of Crawford.
Stat of the game: The Lakers' bench outscored the Clippers' bench, 76-34.
Up next: The Clippers will play the Golden State Warriors on Thursday at Staples Center in the first of four regular-season matchups and possibly a preview of a Western Conference playoff series. The Clippers had difficulty defending the Warriors in transition and on the perimeter last season and Golden State only got better in the offseason.