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NEXT GAME LOOKING AHEAD
Saturday, February 25 vs. Boston
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 7:30 PM

Monday, February 28 @ Sacramento
Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA
Time: 7:00 PM



LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS


-VS-


LOS ANGELES LAKERS


Game #59
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Friday, February 25, 2011 - 7:30 PM (PST)


TEAM Qtr 1 Qtr 2 Qtr 3 Qtr 4 FINAL
LAL (41-19) 30 22 33 23 108
LAC (21-38) 31 19 17 26 95

CLIPPERS vs. LAKERS RECAP -- Danny Savitzky

It was a night of mixed emotions for the Clippers in their first game after the trade deadline and their first game at the Staples Center in over three weeks. Out went Baron Davis, in came Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

But the more things changed for the Clippers this week, the more they stayed the same. Shorthanded and playing in front of a hostile crowd (though technically in their own arena), the Clippers succumbed to their city rivals, falling 108-95 to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“You can't use excuses," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "You get tired legs. We have a lot of young guys. The games are scheduled, you have to play them. That's why it's the NBA."

Randy Foye led the Clippers with 24 points, but the night—or, more accurately, the second half—was all about Kobe Bryant. After notching just 6 points in the first 24 minutes, Bryant exploded in the third quarter for a cool 18 points. He outpaced the Clippers single-handedly in the period, as they mustered just 17 altogether.

“He made tough shots,” Foye said. “That’s what he does; he’s been doing it forever.”

“Kobe caught fire,” he said.

Bryant’s performance was essentially a barometer for the score differential: at halftime, the Lakers led the game just 52-50; by the fourth quarter, the score was a noncompetitive 85-67. All things considered, though, the Clippers were fortunate to remain in the game as long as they did. For most of the first half, they shot about 33 percent from the field, subsisting on three-point makes and frequent trips to the free-throw line. Before long, the odds caught up to the Clippers, as the Lakers widened the shooting-percentage differential and the Clippers offense stagnated completely.

It was a memorable night for Randy Foye, who basically said to the Lakers: “I care not for our lack of starting guards.” Without Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, or Mo Williams, Foye stood in impressively, hitting the open shots that often rim out for the Clippers. In 27 minutes, Foye efficiently put up 24 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was an abysmal performance for Eric Bledsoe, making a rare start in 2011. While he distributed well, finding teammates for 8 assists, he could not find any sort of consistency from the floor. His 8 points came from an underwhelming 2-of-11 shooting performance from the field.

The Lakers’ front line lived up to its lofty expectations, as the Clippers had a hard time controlling the paint on the defensive end. With unexpected ease, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom combined to put down 47 points over the course of the game without mortgaging good shot selection; they shot an astonishing 68 percent from the field. The big men exerted little effort to outmuscle one-on-one post coverages, and the perimeter guys found them for the easy lay-ins around the rim all game. This stat tells it all: the Lakers outscored the Clippers 38 to 18 in the paint.

“We didn’t have a problem with defense,” DeAndre Jordan said. “In the second half, we gave up too many offensive rebounds, easy roll-in buckets, lob passes, and-ones, and other things like that. But we’ll regroup and we play them again. We really have to keep our paint tight.”

Blake Griffin had a relatively pedestrian night, if it is fair to call even his worst of games pedestrian. While the production was there—he scored 22 points and hauled in 10 rebounds for yet another double-dobule—he could not find any consistency from the field, shooting a mere 39 percent, and he was continually bested on defense by his front-court assignments.

Chris Kaman played well as he continues his rehabilitative road back to full game shape. Coming off the bench again, Kaman logged 10 points and 8 rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting in his 19 minutes.

All in all, the circumstances leading up to this game make the outcome less than surprising. It was the last game of the Grammy road trip and traded players were still in transition—not to mention they were playing one of the best teams in the NBA that seems to have hit its stride after the All-Star break. The Clippers just didn’t have much going for them in this one.

“We’re not whole right now as a team. Chris [Kaman] is just coming back and we have our starting backcourt out. We’re not whole. We have a long way to go in terms of getting everybody on the same page with the things we've been dealing with injury-wise and with the trade,” said Del Negro.

Consequently, though, there isn’t much negative to take away from the game in this long term. Once the Clippers have a chance to reestablish themselves at home in front of a supportive crowd with Williams and Moon in tow, that entertaining basketball so popular in January will likely make a reappearance.

QUOTES

Griffin
Blake Griffin

“You just have to keep shooting. You can't stop shooting. It happens, but we just have to make a change defensively, and make sure we lock down and not give up too many easy points."



Del Negro
Vinny Del Negro

"Kobe took it over. He made some tough shots and got us back on our heels and they got some momentum. We didn't shoot the ball well enough from the field to put any real pressure on them."

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