Clippers Open Eyes While Fans Wish Their Eyes Were Closed Watching the Lakers
There is some good news for the Clippers. There is some bad news for the Clippers.
The good news is that they resoundingly beat the previously undefeated San Antonio Spurs 106-84. After back-to-back home losses against the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, there seemed to be some let down after emotional wins to start the season against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Lakers.
All 11 players on the Clippers got to up to play this game against one of the league's best. Okay, maybe not Lamar Odom who did his best impression of Scott Norwood on an attempted three-point shot in the fourth quarter.
But here is the bad news for the Clippers. There are a lot of shitty teams in the NBA. If they only get up for the good teams, then they will be a shitty team themselves.
This game was quite the revelation for this Clippers team. The Clippers showed a lot of energy in all phases of the game. Not only did they become the first team to score more than 100 points against the Spurs, they picked the Spurs pockets 13 times and blocked eight shots. They turned 20 Spurs turnovers into 23 points.
It was interesting to see if the Clippers could withstand that time-tested Spurs defense. The Clippers bigs dominated the Spurs starting five. DeAndre Jordan had himself a monster game with 20 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes, the 28th double-double of his career. Blake Griffin led all scorers with 22 points adding 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. The two even got matching technical fouls after Chris Paul was fouled hard by Manu Ginobli in the fourth quarter. It was your standard NBA fake aggression, par for the course.
Jamal Crawford only had 10 points on seven shot attempts off the bench, but it was Eric Bledsoe who helped break the Spurs back in the third quarter as the Clippers extended their lead to 20 points. Bledsoe had 15 points and five assists in 22 minutes of action.
The Clippers have set a bar for themselves in this game. This is how they are capable of performing even without Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill. They need to be able to give consistent effort on both ends of the floor in every game, not just when they play against one of the "big" teams.
This is the game that gives people the idea that the Clippers can seriously challenge for a championship. We have just seen the blueprint. It's up to them to stick with the plan.
The same can't be said of the Lakers.
One would have hoped that with the win against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, the Lakers could string together some wins together and slowly start to become the team that the Lakers fans have salivated over during the summer. But against another shitty team, granted this one on the road in Salt Lake City, the Lakers fell to 1-4 in a 95-86 loss to the Jazz.
"I don't see the effort or the passion," James Worthy said on the postgame show on TWC SportsNet.
The Lakers are awful right now. They got beat by a starting five of Mo Williams and Gordon Hayward in the back court with Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson up front. Despite the Lakers size they were outscored in the paint 44-36.
Pau Gasol had five points in the game. Five. Dwight Howard had 19 points but only had 11 shot attempts. The Lakers turned the ball over 19 times leading to 19 Utah points. The Lakers missed 14 free throws.
It's ugly. The Lakers aren't fun to watch for those that can even watch the games on television. They're slow and they look awkward. But I'm still holding onto the hope that they are going to better. They have to get better, right? They can't be this bad in March.
I'll just say that it is a good thing the Lakers beat the Pistons at home on Sunday. At least we put the stop of the talk of them being winless. Unfortunately, the Lakers now have the worst record in the Western Conference.