Remember when the season began and the Los Angeles Lakers actually won the opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers, by double digits no less? A lot of things have changed since then, with the Lakers looking worse and worse with every month that goes by. Their 142-94 loss to the Clippers under their championship banner might have been the lowest point of all.
The Clippers broke all kinds of records in the win, with eight players scoring in double figures, led by Darren Collison having 24 points, followed by Blake Griffin with 20 and Matt Barnes with 17. The Lakers were atrocious, falling apart in the second quarter (13-44) and shooting just 39.5% from the field. The formula is quite simple against the Lakers: Their defense isn’t going to slow down anyone, so when their offense looks this bad, it’s going to be a painful blowout.
Dunks and fast breaks, there was only one team that actually came to play. Lakers players stopped trying to chase down the Clippers on transition, simply giving up when looking at the scoreboard and watching the lead grow from hard to catch into outright humiliating. Mike D’Antoni keeps changing his lineups, and no one really knows why. Not that it really matters when the team as a collective decides it’s simply out of their depth to even try and compete.
The Clippers have never won by 48 points, and they’ve never scored this many points against the Lakers. It was the largest margin ever in a Lakers loss, and now the Clippers lead the Lakers by 21.5 games in the standings, by far the biggest margin between the two teams, with an 11-game record set just like last year.
The funniest thing, and maybe the most embarrassing for the Lakers, is that no one seemed too shocked by the huge difference between the teams. The Clippers have been the better ones since Chris Paul landed in Los Angeles. And when a team is in full tanking mode, no matter how you try and put a spin on it, these kind of nights are going to happen. Turning it on and off just because there’s a more important opponent in front of you becomes harder and harder, while the front office no longer cares about the message this sends to the fans. That ship sailed a long time ago.
The Clippers scored 62 points in the paint and 34 on fast break, too many times finding themselves in 3-on-2 or worse fast breaks. They hit 55.3% from the field and 46.2% from beyond the arc, having 34 assists and 16 steals. Chris Paul finished with 11 assists and the team won the rebounding “battle” 64-33, grabbing 16 on the offensive end.
Almost everybody on the Lakers will be gone next season, off to try and stay in the NBA or their luck somewhere else. They’ll be part of the worst season for the franchise since moving to Los Angeles, but that won’t be on them, but on the dysfunctional front office, letting things come to this with a string of bad decisions for the last three years.
The Clippers are in the hunt for a top 3 or maybe better playoff spot. Wins over a sad, pathetic bunch are no indication, but it certainly gives your confidence and teams stats a significant boost, not to mention putting a huge smile on the face of many Clippers fans.