Aside from their advantages in speed, shooting and overall athleticism Thursday night, the Clippers had one other thing on the Lakers.
The veteran Lakers looked nervous from the start in their latest proving-ground game, and the Clippers bolted to a 15-0 lead, never trailed and banked a 125-101 victory over the crosstown rivals who always used to own advantages in confidence and composure.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin scored 12 of those first 15 points — and actually dunked only twice — while the Lakers' star-studded starting lineup panicked all over the court. The Lakers were at their worst — by far — when Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were on the floor. Inspired play off the bench from Steve Blake and Antawn Jamison didn't keep the Clippers from rallying late in the first half against the Lakers' starters and leading, 64-52, at halftime.
Howard's lack of lift near the rim in this season after back surgery was painfully obvious compared to the soaring done by Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for the Clippers, and Bryant's six turnovers were particular ill-timed. Griffin finished with 22 points on 11-of-15 shooting, and his early dominance opened up the 3-point line for his teammates.
Although both teams came in slightly above average in 3-point shooting, the Clippers shot 16 for 30 (53 percent) and the Lakers shot 6 for 20 (30 percent). After Chris Paul's 3-pointer for a 101-80 Clippers lead to close the third quarter, Caron Butler strutted and taunted courtside Lakers fans who just sat silent and took it.
Clippers apply the crusher early, rip Lakers
Orange County Register | Feb 15