Led by 30 points and 13 assists from Chris Paul, the L.A. Clippers earned their second win in as many games against their Los Angeles bunkmates 107-102 at Staples Center Friday night.
Paul’s 30 points (11-25 shooting) were a season-high as he helped the Clippers snap their brief two-game losing streak. Prior to the last two defeats, of course, Los Angeles had won 17 straight games.
The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant’s 38 points (15-25 shooting), but a dismal effort from the majority of his supporting cast is what ultimately doomed them.
Pau Gasol suffered through what may have been his worst game as a member of the Lakers, scoring just two points on 1-6 shooting with four rebounds in 27 minutes. He was benched throughout the fourth quarter, until coming into the game for Dwight Howard, who fouled-out with just over a minute left to play.
The Clippers employed the now popular Hack-a-Dwight strategy a couple of times down-the-stretch of the final frame, repeatedly fouling the Laker big man and forcing him to beat them from the free-throw line. He missed both of his foul shots on his first trip, and then converted them both the second time. He finished with a “quiet” 21 points and 15 rebounds.
One key for the Clippers was winning the battle on the boards, outrebounding the Lakers by a 47-36 margin, including 17 combined off-the-bench from former Lakers Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes and Ronny Turiaf. That trio also combined to score 22 points. The Clippers outscored the Lakers in the paint 52-36.
The Clips’ bench outscored the Lakers’ reserves 30-27, despite being without leading reserve scorer Jamal Crawford, who sat out with a sore left foot. He’s day-to-day.
The Clippers maintained a healthy double-digit lead throughout most of the night, until Bryant decided to take things into his own hands during the final period. He scored 19 points in the fourth, rallying the Lakers from what was once a 19-point deficit.
Bryant’s long jumper with just under 1:30 left brought his club to within 99-97, but that’s as close as the score would get. Paul went on to score the Clippers’ last eight points, including four free-throws inside the 15-second mark to ice the game.
The win improved the Clippers to 25-8 on the season, while the Lakers dropped to 15-17; a full 10 games behind the Clippers in the Western Conference standings and still looking up at the conference’s final playoff spot.
The Clippers will turn around and host the Golden State Warriors, a team that beat them earlier in the week, Saturday night at Staples. The Denver Nuggets come into L.A, to take on the Lakers Sunday evening.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers, and covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for ProSportsBlogging.com.