Inactives for Tonight’s Game:
Clippers: Elton Brand, Paul Davis, Shaun Livingston
Lakers: Chris Mihm, Andrew Bynum
11:07 Derek Fisher gets started on the right foot for the Lakers, nailing a three that hits nothing but net. Derek’s been struggling from long range of late, but showed signs of coming out of his slump against the Kings on Tuesday night.
9:02 Kobe’s looks aggressive early for the Lakers, hitting his first two shots, the first on a layup to open the game and the second on a smooth jumper from about 20 feet out. In recent games, Kobe’s taken a back seat early on when it comes to scoring, but it appears as if Bryant’s chops are wet already against the weak Clippers defense.
6:30 Pau and Derek are playing an effective two-man game, with Gasol drawing the double team before dishing it out to a wide open Fisher who hits the jumper right inside the three-point line. Derek’s five points lead the team in scoring so far. The Lakers lead 15-10 with about half of the first quarter remaining.
6:19 Luke Walton makes his first appearance of the night, replacing Vladimir Radmanovic at small forward.
4:06 Pau Gasol finally gets on the board for the Lakers, posting up Chris Kaman and dropping in a soft hook shot that hits nothing but net. While the Spanish star has yet to make his presence felt on offense, he is leading the team in rebounds through eight minutes with four boards. He’s also done an exceptional job passing the ball to open teammates so far, even if the stat sheet only credits him with two assists.
2:47 Jordan Farmar replaces Fisher in the Lakers lineup.
29.7 Lamar Odom is headed to the line for two after launching himself toward the basket and getting the foul call. Odom is already well on his way to another double-double night, with five points and four rebounds after hitting one of two free throws.
Lakers begin the quarter with Farmar, Sasha, Kobe, Gasol and Ronny.
11:36 Kobe continues to draw holding fouls either before or as he gets the ball. Call it early denial defense from the Clippers.
9:30 The Clippers get their first point of the 2nd Quarter from the charity stripe. Their first possessions of this quarter have run through Tim Thomas and the Lakers have forced him to make his shots, which he wasn’t able to do.
7:32 Sasha and Jordan release on the break and Sasha provides a nicely placed behind the back pass to Jordan. The Clippers are back on defense and Jordan wisely pulls it back, but some razzle dazzle while Kobe isn’t on the floor.
6:30 Jordan curls around a Lamar pick to hit a pull-up jumper. The he gets a steal, but is blocked on the dunk. Next possession he outraces Sasha to gather up the long outlet pass and dunk. It’s Jordan’s time to shine.
4:39 Radmanovic works off a pick from Ronny and gets caught in the air so he cheekily drops it over Ronny’s shoulder. Somehow Ronny catches it with enough space to draw a cheap foul from the Clippers. Let’s just say Vladi got bailed out big time.
4:12 Pau pounds it in the post against Kaman. He’s already gotten his hook shot tonight, this time, Kaman does a better job of bodying Pau and keeps him further from the basket. Pau adapts, switches from hook to jumper and drops it through the twine.
2:36 The lead stands at 6. The Lakers aren’t in command, but aren’t really being threatened either. The only real difference on the statistical side is in shooting percentage, where the Lakers not so amazing .462 still outpaces the .400 for the Clippers.
:41.8 Luke wows the crowd. It’s not entirely clear if he was passing because he had stumbled or if it was always his plan, but either way, Luke passes behind his head to hit Pau on the way to the basket. Pau finishes with a finger roll.
Halftime Lakers 49, Clippers 41
The Lakers haven’t dominated, but still take an 8 point lead into the half. On the defensive end, the Lakers have simply made the Clippers manufacture offense, not too many offensive rebounds (6) or turnovers (8, well that’s not great, but only 7 points off those) to give them easy baskets. The result is a .390 shooting percentage. On the offensive side, the Lakers have been steady. They have 15 bench points, not too exceptional .488 shooting, though nearly half their baskets were assisted, and generally not too crisp execution. For now they can fall back on the old cliche that good teams know how to win when they’re not playing their best.
11:02 Radmanovic dunks it home on the fast break for the Lakers to open up the second half. On the following possession, Vladi grabbed the offensive rebound from the Clippers and took three steps back before draining a wide open three pointer that puts the Lakers up 54-41–their largest lead of the night. Already in one minute of second half play, the Lakers look much more focused and energized after a first half in which they let the Clippers hang around for most of the 24 minutes.
9:15 Radmanovic nails his second three of the half for his seventh point already with only three minutes gone by in the third quarter. It looks like his hot shooting has carried over to his teammates as Fisher nailed a jumper on the Lakers’ previous play for his team-leading fourteenth point. The Lakers have opened up a 16 point lead on the Clippers at 59-43.
7:50 Walton replaces Vladi who just picked up his fourth personal.
5:39 The Lakers have really stepped it up on the defensive end to open the third quarter, highlighted by Walton’s steal and dish to Odom who nearly took it coast-to-coast for a layup, before being fouled. The Lakers have seven steals already tonight, led by two a piece from Odom and Fisher. The defense is paying dividends on the scoreboard too as the Lakers have pushed their lead to 65-46.
3:40 Kobe finally gets on the scoreboard in the second half, hitting two free throws for his ninth and tenth points amid his second “MVP” chant of the night. In hitting the two shots, Bryant becomes the fourth Laker to reach double figures tonight, joining Fisher, Odom and Radmanovic.
2:39 Fisher hits another three–his third tonight–for his seventeenth point overall to lead the team. Derek is shooting an impressive seven of eleven from the field. The even better news is it looks like the starters will be getting plenty of rest in the fourth quarter with the team up by a seemingly insurmountable 27 points.
1:42 After a quiet first two and a half quarters, it looks like Kobe is heating up, making his second consecutive three pointer, giving him 16 points on the night to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
10:42 After missing a three in the corner, Sasha electrifies the STAPLES Center crowd, nailing the second attempt to bump the Lakers lead to 89-57. “The Machine” has been quiet so far tonight with only four points on a surprisingly low four field goal attempts.
9:15 Walton dishes to Turiaf for a monster two-handed dunk that gets everyone off of their feet and gives the Lakers a game-high 33 point lead. While the stat sheet only says Walton has seven points and three assists, he’s made himself useful in his 21 minutes on the court.
7:39 Sasha must be reading this as he just nailed his second shot in a row, a twenty footer that hits nothing but net. If Vujacic scores four more points, he would join an impressive seven other Lakers in double figures tonight.
6:25 Garbage time is in full swing now with Coby Karl replacing Lamar on the floor. In 36 minutes of play, Odom had a very effective 15 points and eight rebounds.
5:48 DJ Mbenga enters the game following the timeout.
4:10 Mbenga shows surprising finesse around the basket on consecutive plays, the first coming on a fadeaway jumper off glass and the second, a face-up jumper from about 12 feet away that rested on the rim before going in.
2:11 Mbenga’s gone nuts and so has the Lakers crowd as the seldom used center swishes yet another fadeaway jumper, this time from even further out. The make puts the Lakers lead at 38 at 110-72, minutes after they went up by 40 points.
1:50 Smiles all around as Sasha gets a raucous ovation after the jumbotron at STAPLES wished him an early happy birthday.
43.3 With the crowd chanting his name, Coby Karl swishes home a three one play after barely missing a thunderous drunk.
FINAL SCORE: Clippers 82, Lakers 119