Basing the theory that the Los Angeles Clippers are now a better team then the Los Angeles Lakers on one preseason game would be foolish. Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler joining the Clips don’t immediately make them a better team, but it seems the Clippers will be the funnest LA team to watch this season.
If we’re talking energy, there’s no comparing. The Clippers blew by the Lakers in the third quarter, with Chris Paul making his much awaited debut, scoring 17 points and dishing out 9 assists. Blake Griffin wasn’t as dominant, but finished with 12 points. Chauncey Billups was actually the one who stood out, scoring 23 points. Good time ahead for the Clippers? Seems like it.
Their starting 5 is pretty impressive. They may struggle defensively, especially with a very small back court, but they can sure put up points, and play fast. Billups won’t have to do the ball handling and play making most of the time, which he struggled with last season with the Knicks. It’s going to be keeping himself open while Paul draws the double teams.
For the Lakers, the team that got screwed the most by this whole Chris Paul business, will struggle. They still have Kobe Bryant (who apparently isn’t happy), Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. What else? Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, Jason Kapono, Josh McRoberts and Mr. World Peace. Not the most exciting crew, especially with Bryant always near the point of a steep decline. He ain’t there yet, but it will have to come at some point. Why not now?
The problems for the Clippers will the front court in second quarters and such, when Griffin and DeAndre Jordan sit down. They have Mo Williams and Randy Foye as very capable substitutes, but the loss of Chris Kaman will be hard to overcome. But there’s no doubt the Clips are a better team, and even more importantly, trendy. Like with the Timberwolves, it’s not just improving. It’s creating a buzz, and making it at the expense of the Lakers probably doesn’t both anyone involved with the red and less successful side of LA.
Last night, in LA fashion, was about proving who has more flash. Weird to say, but the Clippers do. Well, any team with Blake Griffin alone can win this league in a dunk competition. He got a technical foul for hanging too long on the rim after a off-the-backboard dunk. Kobe Bryant gave Josh McRoberts a nice alley oop feed, but the best of the night came from DeAndre Jordan, soaring over long Laker hands.
It’s too soon to tell, but we’ll know soon enough. The LA Clippers with Chris Paul have the potential to do some serious damage this season. We’re not talking just making the playoffs. We’re talking further than that. In a shortened, packed season, barring any injuries occur, why not?