Clippers Make Quick Work Of Lakers, 114-89
LOS ANGELES – Owner Steve Ballmer danced, Fergie sang, Blake Griffin windmill dunked and the Clippers took firm hold of STAPLES Center early Wednesday night in a thrashing of the Lakers.
The Clippers (24-12) had downplayed the rivalry and importance of this particular game against their cross-town rival heading into the matchup, but the Clippers’ starters seemed juice all night, outscoring the Lakers’ (11-25) starters by 44 points en route to a 114-89 win.
“Both sides can say these games don’t mean anything, and they don’t mean anything in the grand scope of things, but when you play each other and know each other, those games are fun,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “You could see the energy in the building.”
That energy was on full display after the Clippers took a 10-point lead into the second quarter, which was followed by Ballmer dancing around to a live performance from Fergie between the first and second quarters. Even the players had to acknowledge the fun they had seeing their owner dancing around.
The entertainment came in conjunction with the show the Clippers put on themselves.
DeAndre Jordan said it was the most fun the Clippers had on the court in a while. That was particularly evident on a wide open drive to the lane for Griffin, who took a pass from Redick and threw down a windmill dunk as part of a 27-point, nine-rebound, eight-assist night.
“He was great,” Jordan said. “I’m still thinking about that windmill he had. I’m like, ‘No one’s going to pick him up, huh?’ It was great. He was great.”
The Clippers couldn’t miss, pouring in a season-high 70 first-half points and committing just six turnovers while leading by as many as 43 points.
A 22-point halftime lead quickly became an 80-50 advantage for the Clippers, whose starters smashed their Lakers counterparts.
“The ball movement was fantastic,” Rivers said. “The spacing and the ball movement is how we have to play every night, and it was beautiful to watch.”
There are times the Clippers’ starters can sit for the fourth quarter. Wednesday provided a rare opportunity for the Clippers, who led by more than 20 points throughout the second half, to allow the starters to sit before the third quarter even ended.
All five Clippers starters scored in double-digits. Early in the third quarter, Chris Paul and Griffin had combined to shoot 15-for-22 for 41 points before Kobe Bryant and Nick Young had scored a point. Matt Barnes, who was guarding Bryant for most of the night, shot 50 percent and scored 19 points.
Rivers said he hopes Paul, who finished with 24 points and 11 assists, sees what happens when he plays as aggressively as he did Wednesday. Paul said he’s tried to come out like that every night and focused on being aggressive early. That energy was on full display for every starter, from Paul to DeAndre Jordan, who had a few dunks among his 10 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
“For me, it was more the spirit of how we played,” Rivers said. “I thought they followed the game plan defensively terrifically.”
It hasn’t always looked pretty for the Clippers as of late; Wednesday night was a complete exception. The Clippers led the entire game, with their starters scoring a combined 90 points despite not playing the fourth quarter.
“We learn from our mistakes,” Jordan said. “Games before we’ve given up leads and obviously lost games. We try to learn from that.”
NOTES: The Clippers had some fun commenting on their owner’s dance moves. Here’s what some of them had had to say:
Griffin: “I’ll put it this way, he danced exactly how I expected him to. But his enthusiasm was amazing. It was fun, cool atmosphere.”
Jordan: “I thought the MVP tonight was obviously Steve Ballmer. He pulled out some dance moves. I’m really anxious to see more of those moves. I really liked the leg kick.”
Paul: “He was feeling good tonight. I think it’s cool, seriously, to see how much fun he’s having. I think our fans feed off of that.”
- Paul passed Reggie Theus and John Lucas to move from No. 24 to No. 22 all-time in assists.
- The Clippers shot 57.8 percent in the first half.
- The Clippers never trailed in the win and are 2-0 against the Lakers this season.