For the first time in…ever?…the Los Angeles Clippers started an NBA season as the L.A. NBA team with highest aspirations and expectations. However, for one night, at least, it was the Lakers that reigned supreme.
Led by a whopping 76 points from a previously-unheralded bench group, the Lakers surged past the Clippers 116-103 Tuesday night at Staples Center.
It was a back-and-forth affair for the majority of the night, but the Lakers exploded for 41 fourth quarter points as the Clips crumbled on both ends of the floor.
One of those random Laker new additions, Xavier Henry, led all scorers with 22 points in 26 minutes off-the-bench. He hit 8 of his 13 shots, including 3/4 from beyond-the-arc, and the Clippers had no answer whatsoever in what turned out to be a lopsided loss.
Chris Paul scored 15 points, dished out 11 assists and grabbed 6 boards for the Clips, but was unable to assert himself as a scorer late in the game, which stifled the Clippers’ offense when they desperately needed a few buckets. He finished 5-13 from the floor. Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 19 points, but his ugly free-throw woes reared their ugly head yet again, as he made just 3 of his 10 free throws.
DeAndre Jordan, tabbed by many as a player primed for a true breakout season, was impressive, scoring 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Despite having the clear size and athleticism advantage, the Clippers were outrebounded by the Lakers by a 52-40 margin, including 18 offensive boards for the Lakers. They were no match for the Lakers’ offensive blitzkrieg in the fourth quarter. The Lakers missed only 6 shots in that final frame, yet grabbed 5 offensive rebounds. It’s nearly impossible to lose if you’re scoring LITERALLY EVERY TIME DOWN THE FLOOR.
Not a single Laker starter even played in the fourth, which should keep them fresh for the second half of a back-to-back Wednesday against the Warriors.
J.J. Redick got off to a hot start for the Clippers, and had 13 points on 2-5 three-point shooting. It was a disappointing loss for the Clippers, obviously, and their lack of reliable backup big men was evident. Jordan Hill was a major factor on the offensive glass for the Lakers, as he typically is, and he had 7 offensive rebounds by himself. The Clippers, as a team, had just 10 on the offensive glass.
The Clips will try to rebound from the disappointing debut with their home opener on Thursday night against Golden State.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.