Los Angeles Lakers: J.J. Redick

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 123, Lakers 87

January, 10, 2014
Jan 10
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin

LOS ANGELES -- After seeing Friday night's embarrassing 123-87 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers unfold, Doc Rivers' pregame thoughts about the Los Angeles Lakers seem more depressing than hopeful, even if that wasn't the coach's intention.

"They're going to win eventually," Rivers said. "You know that. That's just the odds. They're desperate. I thought playing Boston the other night, Boston's in a losing streak and you can see as the game went on and the game was close, how desperate [they were] and it's tough to play against that. There's no doubt about that."

Nothing the Lakers did made it tough for the Clippers on Friday, as they lost for the 10th time in their past 11 games, their worst stretch since losing 13 out of 14 during the 2004-05 season.

Back then, desperation didn't help them any either, as they finished the season 34-48, marking the last time the franchise failed to qualify for the postseason.

The Staples Center video screen said it all when it focused on fans dressed in purple and gold Lakers gear making their way to the exits with six minutes still to go in the fourth quarter.

Of course, maybe the fans should be commended for staying that long. After all, the Lakers trailed by 41 points heading into the fourth and flirted with suffering the worse loss in franchise history (their 46-point drubbing in Portland in 1995 still stands).

It makes it feel as if that 116-103 win by the Lakers over the Clippers on opening night was a lifetime ago.

The question is, will it feel like another lifetime before the Lakers can make one of these games against the Clippers competitive again?

How it happened: This one was pretty much decided in the first quarter. The Clippers went up 20-9, the Lakers responded to draw to within one at 22-21 and then the Clips turned it back on to take a 43-25 lead into the second quarter, shooting 17-for-24 (70.8 percent) in the opening period in the process.

What it means: There are still 45 games left to the season and there will assuredly be plenty more nights where the Lakers come up on the losing side of the box score. The question is whether they'll be able to make games competitive and worth watching.

Hits: Kendall Marshall had 16 points and 10 assists.

Wesley Johnson had 14 points, shooting 5-for-11 from the field after starting the game 5-for-5.

Misses: Blake Griffin had 33 points and 12 rebounds on 12-for-15 shooting against Pau Gasol's 10 points and eight rebounds on 5-for-15 shooting.

Nick Young and Jodie Meeks combined to shoot 5-for-24 at the shooting guard position for the Lakers.

The Lakers had 21 turnovers leading to 37 points for the Clippers.

Stat of the game: 2-for-20. That's what the Lakers shot as a team in the third quarter as they were outscored 31-8. Yep, it got even worse after that first quarter.

Up next: The Lakers have a three-day break before their next game, Tuesday at home against Mike Brown, Earl Clark and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then it's on to their seven-game Grammy trip starting Wednesday in Phoenix.

The upside of playing a tough team on the heels of a terrible loss? The chance for a win and immediate redemption. The downside of playing a tough team on the heels of a terrible loss? The chance to convince skittish fans you're even worse than they imagine with a loss. Either way, we'll be given the chance to compare Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum for the 4,573,618th time, despite Drew's stated opinion that this national pastime is in fact a waste of time.

For perspective on the Magic, we called upon Eddy Rivera of the True Hoop Network's Magic Basketball blog. Here are his thoughts on four issues, plus a few thoughts of my own. (I along with the boys at Forum Blue and Gold, provided some Laker perspective in a 3-on-3 for Magic Basketball, and also took part in the ESPN/True Hoop 5-on-5 round table.)

Fernando Medina/Getty Images
Despite whatever madness off the court, the Magic are still winning games.

Land O' Lakers: Unlike the Nuggets before the Carmelo Anthony circus left town, the Magic have managed to play well so far despite questions surrounding Dwight Howard. Considering the bad postseason and they made no substantive changes, how surprising is this? And how is it happening?

Eddy Rivera: It's a little surprising, though not entirely because the Magic are expectedly benefiting from continuity in a truncated season and Van Gundy's coaching. It's happening because Anderson has emerged as Orlando's second option offensively, Hedo Turkoglu is reverting back to his old self, and J.J. Redick is having the best start of his career. With Howard, that trio has aided in the fast start.

LO'L: Ryan Anderson is off to an exceptionally good start. How sustainable is it, and what in particular is he doing well beyond shooting? (Assuming he is contributing in more ways, of course.)

ER: Nothing in Anderson's numbers suggest anything abnormally strange going on. Outside of a spike in his free throw percentage and a much lower turnover percentage, Anderson is just getting more opportunities to score with more playing time. Aside from Anderson's shooting, he's a sneaky good offensive rebounder for his position and although his defense still needs some work, he's adept at taking charges.

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Lakers-Magic: What to watch, with Orlando Pinstriped Post

March, 14, 2011
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky

The last time the Lakers and Magic met, the results opened the floodgates for a sea of concerns about an L.A. three-peat. After winning the opening four games of a marathon seven-game roadie, the Lakers dropped one in the Magic Kingdom. The 89-75 loss featured little backcourt support for Kobe Bryant (who might have been feeling the effects of an impending flu), inferior rebounding and Pau Gasol being perpetually oblivious to the concept of Dwight Howard getting fed over the top. At the time, the bad performance struck me as teamwide exhaustion, but subsequent losses in Charlotte and (gulp!) Cleveland meant an All-Star break ripe with speculation about what's wrong with the Lakers.

Since the hiatus, the Lakers have won nine of 10 games. Beyond the status of Kobe's sprained left ankle, there is tranquility among fans. Assuming the two-time defending champs can even out the series Monday evening, they'll have three days to get the Mamba's wheel healthy again before a game against the Wolves. (And really, how healthy does he need to be for that contest?)

For a better look at the Magic, I sent a few questions to Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post. Here are a few items to keep an eye on once the ball is jumped. (Also, while watching the game, drop by ESPNLA.com and click on the 710 ESPN live stream link to hear Brian and me do live commentary throughout the game.)

Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire
J.J. Redick will be missed if he's unable to go.

K Bros: If an abdominal strain prevents J.J. Redick from suiting up, what are the ramifications? How much does that change the way the Magic operate?
Evan Dunlap: Losing Redick does have a bit of a trickle-down effect in terms of the rotation. Gilbert Arenas will shift to shooting guard for a few minutes per game; he's played the point almost exclusively in Orlando, which is why I say "shift." The Magic can get away with it when the Lakers have Shannon Brown in the game, but when Kobe's in and Jason Richardson needs some rest, they'll turn to Quentin Richardson instead.

Redick is a better player than a lot of people realize; he's developed a solid all-around offensive game despite entering the league as a standstill shooter. And while opposing guards can just play over the top of him at the other end, Redick at least makes them work for their shots by playing intelligent defense, both on-the-ball and off.

As far as strategy without Redick, the Magic will rely on Arenas to create offense from the 2-spot. He'll dominate the ball while the point guard, either Jameer Nelson or Chris Duhon, spots up in the corner. Redick doesn't get nearly as many such chances to run the offense.

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Nick Young
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0