Lest you think Sunday's loss to the Clippers was just about late game tension, there was also a fairly epic late game collapse from the Lakers (or, if you're a fan of ClipperBlog, a late game surge from the LAC). A 14-point swing over the last seven minutes- 16 if not for a meaningless Shannon Brown layup at the buzzer- but as Phil Jackson noted after the game, the Lakers actually opened the door for the Clips in the third. At the 3:05 mark, a Kobe Bryant triple gave the purple and gold a 12 point lead. The Lakers were poised to put the game away.
After Eric Gordon canned a tough corner three to end the quarter, the lead was down to three.
"We had poor offensive execution in the third quarter which gave them some light to get back in the ballgame. We had a pretty good game going for ourselves and we just didn't take care of the ball a couple of times, and they had that shot at the end of the third quarter to give them some momentum," Phil Jackson said. Sufficiently revitalized, the Clippers blew up for 29 points over the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter.
No, that is not a misprint. 29 points in seven minutes.
"They found something they could run to towards the end of the game. They had some three-point shots towards the end, and they just played well," Jackson said. At the other end, it wasn't much better. "We had some misplays. Kobe dribbling the ball off his foot and giving up a layup at a critical time of the game. Some things like that, that were just [out of the ordinary]... We had a couple situations where we didn't get into the offense, or Lamar [Odom] just backed up and shot a three pointer. Pau [Gasol] stood at the other side of the lane with [Ike] Diogu on him and didn't move to the ball. Guys just weren't functioning fully in their offense."
"We just relaxed," said Andrew Bynum. Asked what would happen if they relaxed against, say the Boston's, San Antonio's, and Miami's of the world- no disrespect to the Clippers- he was emphatic. "Then they're going to really exploit us, and it's going to look bad. We'll be down by 20 instead of five."
As a result, the Lakers fell a full 5.5 games back of San Antonio in the Western Conference, and face three tough games this wee, starting Monday at home against Oklahoma City.
For more postgame video from Jackson, Bryant, and Gasol, click below.
Jackson didn't approve of Ron Artest's in the wake of the scrap in the final moments between Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom. "I have no idea. I have no idea how they make their decisions," he said. "Whimsically, I think. I can see Lamar and Griffin, or whatever, but Ron's, that was ridiculous."
I couldn't find anyone who disagreed, and will not be surprised if the league rescinds Artest's T.
Kobe, on his relationship with Eric Gordon, and how he measures criticism of his teammates after losses:
Gasol, on the loss:
Gasol, on Griffin: