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Ugliness at STAPLES Center

Photo by Paul!!! via Flickr
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I was watching Saturday’s Lakers-Clippers game with friends who don’t keep up with sports like I do, although they do enjoy watching sports. You see, they have actual real lives while I live in this suspended adolescent world of athletes. Nonetheless they were still behind the times on the Clippers landing Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. Although this is a huge indication that they don’t read anything I write, so they’re nothing more than pig fuckers.

It was amusing to see their reaction when they saw the Clippers were leading the Lakers 52-42 with a minute left in the first half. They didn’t know what to think of it. After questioning the reality of the score, they asked if the Clippers were actually good. After I told them that the Clippers were indeed a good team, they asked how they became good so fast.

Chris Paul.

I recounted the saga of the aborted Chris Paul trade since it was halftime, but their eyes glazed over and each word fell to the ground unabsorbed. It’s like when they talk to me about their fruity hippie garden that they call a farm and all of their chickens laying eggs and other such rural nonsense even though they live in Highland Park. Meanwhile they oohed and aahed as the Clippers beat the Lakers 102-94.

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As much of a difference that Chris Paul has made for this team, the Clippers had to deal with him dressed in a suit on the sidelines Monday afternoon against the New Jersey Nets. He suffered a left hamstring strain in that Lakers game which fortunately wasn’t any worse and will remain day-to-day. Then again the Nets were a laughable 3-10 heading into this matchup, so ideally there shouldn’t have been a need for Chris Paul.

Of course with a team that isn’t used to being a heavy favorite, there is a fear of slipping into a blissful contentment after an emotional win Saturday night. Fortunately the Clippers ran out to a 32-17 first quarter lead led by Caron Butler’s 15 points. They kept the separation through three quarters, but somehow, someway the Nets crawled back and tied the game midway through the fourth quarter at 83 apiece. Chauncey Billups took over with nine points making the Clippers 101-91 margin of victory over the Nets look easier than it actually was for the last 12 minutes.

Meanwhile the Lakers 73-70 win against the Dallas Mavericks were an atrocity exhibition of sorts. It really did have all the makings of a revenge fuck: just a lot of hate in the room devolving into a grunty sweaty mess. Evidence: a seven-point third quarter for the Lakers that made watching an MLS regular season game look appealing.

But there were a couple of highlights. When Lamar Odom came into the game in the first quarter for the Mavs, the STAPLES Center crowd gave him a standing ovation. There were also two lobs in the game by the Lakers: Josh McRoberts to Andrew Bynum in the first half and Ron Artest to McRoberts with a reverse alley-oop slam in the fourth quarter.

Then with the game tied at 70-70 with 9.9 seconds remaining and the Lakers with the ball after the timeout, everyone knew that Kobe Bryant was going to take the final shot, 7-of-22 shooting night be damned. There he was at the top of the key double teamed with everyone in the building knowing the inevitability that ball was going through the bucket via his hands. But he did the most shocking thing: he passed it to Old Man Derek Fisher behind the three-point line. Catch, shoot, swoosh. 73-70 lead for the Lakers with 3.1 seconds remaining. Vince Carter missed the answer and the Lakers ran away with the win.

Yes the shot clock was in effect in the game. No the mid-2000’s Detroit Pistons weren’t playing. It was a whole lot of ugly. But the Lakers and their defense gave the Lakers the chance to escape with a win.

LA Clippers at Utah Jazz. 6:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.
LA Kings at Vancouver Canucks. 7:00 p.m. FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK.