How quickly things change. A win for the Los Angeles Clippers over the Los Angeles Lakers used to be huge. Now? It’s expected of them, and it’s surprising when the game is actually close. This time it ended in a 120-97 victory with the usual big nights from Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
As we like to say about one-sided games: Not a fair fight. Blake Griffin said after the game that obviously it is nice to beat the Lakers, but it doesn’t mean that much to him and his team. The dethroning has been complete – a process in the making for the last three years. The Clippers were already better last season in terms of their record, and this year has been a complete humiliation on multiple occasions, although the Lakers did poach one win at the season opener.
The Clippers won only by 23 points, which points towards a downward trend: It was 36 points back in January and 48 points in March. After embarrassing the most important franchise in Southern California twice, they’ve had enough.
And the Lakers’ haters-ball? It lasted for a few games, but it takes more than motivation to beat teams that are far superior in every possible way. As Mike D’Antoni said after the game: They were bigger, talented, and they played better. Almost completely correct. The Clippers simply are the better team, although a head coach, who is also part of the inferiority factored into the equation, won’t admit that. The Lakers lost their fourth in a row overall, seventh straight on the road, and 10th in 13 games for their 52nd defeat of the season.
Blake Griffin finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in another display of his all-around abilities, which include his improving mid-range jumper and some nice moves that don’t include dunks. Chris Paul, who could have been a Lakers player if it wasn’t for David Stern which might have changed the course of NBA history, scored 23 as well. He made 8-of-10 from the field and added six assists.
The even better news for a team a lot more concerned about what happens in a few weeks than in a one-sided local derby was getting 15 points from J.J. Redick. Out for a very long time, Redick felt very comfortable against the no-defense the Lakers are famous for, finishing with 7-of-11 from the field. Darren Collison had 14 points off the bench, DeAndre Jordan was very dominant under the basket and Hedo Turkoglu showed some surprising hustle and skill with 10 points and even the fast break finish after a steal.
The Lakers’ ship can’t sink any lower, and nothing that happens to them from here on out can actually change the perception of this season for good or bad. They’re down to only eight players once again, led by Jordan Hill with 22 points and 9 rebounds. Nick Young scored 18 points off the bench and he’s playing injured as well. Jodie Meeks scored 17, as the main concern for most players should be doing well enough to secure a contract with someone next season.