Around the NBA: L.A. Split in Half



Two teams have called L.A. home since 1984.
However, in those 30 years, there has never been a time when both teams were dominant at the same time.
With the exception of last year, it was the Lakers that were always in the mix for an NBA Championship. Then, last season, the Clippers won its first Division Championship.
Friday night’s 123-87 thrashing over the Lakers proved that last year was no fluke for the Clippers. The 36 point loss demolished the previous worst blowout by the Clippers from 1992, when they beat the Lakers by 31.
While it would be easy to say that this game really didn’t have much significance for the Clippers against an injury-laden team like the Lakers (which might even be an understatement), but it was critical without point guard and leader Chris Paul on the floor.
Demolishing the Lakers proved the Clippers are in contention this year and that other players have the capability of stepping up. Typically without Paul, the Clippers head into a downward spiral.
Blake Griffin took the reins, putting up 33 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. D’Andre Jordan added 13 points and a phenomenal seven blocks. Returning from injury, J.J. Reddick tallied 19 points and stepping in for Paul, Darren Collison gave the Clippers an impressive 20 point game.
The competition may not have been great, but the Clippers need to take the success in this game and ride the momentum.
On the other side, just about everything that could go wrong for the Lakers this season has gone wrong.
Against the Clippers, Pau Gasol, the only big name left on the squad, only scored 10 points. The Lakers need better numbers from him. Despite six players finishing in double-figures, the Lakers simply don’t have the talent to play against high-caliber teams.
It’s not a knock against the players there, but when you have multiple D-League players on your roster that lack experience and you’ve gone through six point guards due to injury, there’s not a whole lot left in your control.
In fact, I give Head Coach Mike D’Antoni a lot of credit. Despite the fact that most Laker fans despise him, his tactics worked well for the team early in the season when the Lakers still had a few big-name players left on the roster. He’s done well with tons of turnover and very little talent. With really only Gasol inside, his run-and-gun game and game plan to shoot three-pointers was a success and kept the Lakers over .500 for as long as possible under the conditions.
Nevertheless, the Lakers have lost 10 of their last 11 for the first time since 2005. The Lakers are not in contention for the playoffs, but they’re still not at the bottom of the West, ranking third from the bottom.
There’s a lot of talk about giving up the season for a lottery pick, but personally, I think the Lakers should ride this out. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash could still return and while rebuilding needs to occur, purposefully losing isn’t good for the game. And you don’t officially know yet who will decide to enter the draft.
Besides, giving up would simply tarnish the incredible legacy known to the L.A. Lakers.

 

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