In what was billed as the battle over LA, the Lakers proved why this is still their city. Lob City may win the battle for most Sports Center highlights, but the Clippers still have to prove they know how to win when it counts. Kobe and the Lakers have the rings to prove they’ve got what it takes and Wednesday the Clippers showed why they have none.
The Lakers were led by Kobe who owned the 4th quarter going off for 12 of his 24 points in the final quarter. This included crucial buckets in the last 2 minutes of play that iced the game for the Lakers. This was a testament to both Kobe’s attempt to get his teammates involved more and his ability to still take-over the game when necessary. Gasol was a work-horse for the Lakers with a solid double-double dropping in 23 points with 10 boards. Even the artist formerly known as Ron Artest and now known as Meta World Peace came up big with 7 assists, 2 steals, and some key defensive stops in the 4th. Overall, this was a rejuvenated and gritty Laker squad that looked very capable of winning the West if not more.
The Clippers didn’t look bad, but they didn’t look great either. Griffin led the way with 26 points and 9 boards. Unfortunately, CP3 decided to pull a disappearing act. His play was atrocious. I know he’s just coming off a hamstring injuring and he’s not back to 100%, but 4 points for what some regard as the top 1-guard in the game is pathetic. If he isn’t healthy enough to play he should rest because he was a hindrance to the Clippers with his inability to both distribute the ball or make buckets.
This game was a battle and both teams know it was for more than just bragging rights. The Clippers are the new kids in town and being celebrated all over the NBA, while the Lakers are the old guard. The one stat where the Lakers continue to excel at more than any is their ability to make plays when they count. This was clearly lacking from the Clippers who struggled as possessions and shots mattered most. They will need more team defense and definitely more offense out of their mega-star CP3 if the Clippers hope to make a real dent come play-off time.
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