Lakers – Clippers Running Diary

Andrew BynumAs always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Previous Lakers – Clippers Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Clippers Running Diary 11-05-2008
Lakers 117, Clippers 79: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga
Clippers: Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph

Rarely do we have pertinent news just before the game (e.g. talking about Madagascar a few games ago), but tonight’s an exception: Luke Walton is back in the starting lineup for the Lakers, and back to the bench goes Vladimir Radmanovic. Vladi’s expressed … how should we say it … complete disappointment after being put on the bench 20 games into the season in favor of Walton’s ball movement and general team play.

Starters
Lakers Fish, Kobe, Walton, Pau and Bynum
Clippers Mardy Collins, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Brian Skinner and DeAndre Jordan

First Quarter
11:54 Walton “christens” his start (Spero Dedes’ words, we’re listening to the broadcast) with a dunk after Gasol’s perfect bounce pass. Before I forget this stat, the Clips have lost 54 games to injury from their top four players this season, none of whom are playing tonight (Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby).

10:05 Pretty good lil’ start from ‘Drew: 3-for-3 for six points, including two dunks and an offensive rebound for an 8-2 Lakers start.

8:01 The Lakers aren’t letting their opponent’s inferior talent affect their intensity, and have been getting any shot they want offensively, while holding the Clippers to perimeter jumpers save one Thornton dunk. Bynum hit again for his fourth bucket in four minutes, and Walton’s baby hook made it 14-6 Lakers.

5:30 Bryant gets his first two points of the game with two foul shots (his release looked good despite his heavily-bandaged right hand), and the Lakers first two points outside of the paint in an 18-12 opening.

3:52 It’s been all Bynum early on. After dunking on Skinner’s head for his 11th point, he destroyed a Mardy Collins layup attempt with a touch of nastiness.

2:19 Bynum, again scoring in the paint for a season-high 13 points in one quarter for the big kid.

An unrelated note: Two possessions earlier, Luke Walton pulled up in transition instead of feeding Gasol or Bryant, who weren’t quite far enough ahead of the defense to receive a pass. Walton bricked badly, but the ball went right into Pau’s hands for an easy layup. What’s notable wasn’t the play, but that the whole Lakers bench was quickly off the bench to make chatter at Walton. It’s always a good sign when your teammates are willing to get on you like that (translation: Luke’s teammates really like him).

0:29.8 Gordon’s three capped a quick 7-0 run to tie the game at 25 as L.A.’s defense grew a bit on the poor side.

0:01.0 How about a 9-0 run to close the quarter? Collins’ 20-foot jumper saw to that.

In short, the Lakers missed their last four shots, and the Clippers made four of their last five. Why? You can blame a slight drop in intensity, but I’m not sure it’s anything about which to worry about for L.A. However, if the Clippers are still hanging around after the second quarter … eh, that might not matter either. After the third? We’ll talk then.

Second Quarter
11:43 Newly-entered Steve Novak, a three-point specialist, nails a three to make it a 12-0 run and a five-point Clippers lead.

9:55 Bynum has been completely unstoppable, hitting his eighth shot in nine attempts for 19 points. Too bad the rest of the team is 5-for-17. His career high is 28 points, and season high 24.

9:21 There’s ‘Drew again. He can’t miss. Throw in nine rebounds and two blocks in 13 minutes of work.

7:28 By the way, the Clippers are up 37-33 on the Lakers.

6:45 Guess who scored on the block? Bynum, for the ninth time in 11 attempts. That’s 23 points and a 37-all tie.

5:57 Radmanovic checks in for the first time.

5:28 Kobe’s first field goal was a three, which was immediately answered by Novak, which was re-answered by Bryant’s second triple in 30 seconds. Fair enough. Lakers up one, 45-44.

2:33 The rookie Jordan got his fourth dunk of the game. Were you watching, you’d see that he can’t dunk the ball without lifting both of his legs way up in the air, kind of like Greg Oden. Is that an under-20 thing? “Jordan really likes to tear the rim off when it’s uncontested, texted Lakers.com’s Ty Nowell just as I was making fun of the Texas A&M product.

1:40 Another dunk for ‘Drew, this time off Vujacic’s alley-oop pass, and the kid has a season-high 25 points.

0:30.1 Vujacic finally gets on the scoreboard with a triple, his first make in six attempts, to put the Lakers up 58-53. The Clips did manage another bucket, from Collins, to make it a three-point halftime lead for the purple and gold.

We’re going to go ahead and credit the Clips solid performance to playing with absolutely zero pressure, as not even Clipper Daryl expected them to win tonight.

The only stats worth mentioning for the Lakers: Bynum’s 25 points, 10 boards and two blocks, on 11-of-14 from the field. Let’s go out on a limb and predict that he eclipses his career high tonight.

Third Quarter
A halftime disappointment, personally, was not seeing at least some C-list celebs, like basically any “Real World” cast member. It’s always more fun to see the people who acted like absolute disasters for several months of reality television.

The Clippers shot 56.1 percent in the first half, and still trailed by three. I said before the game that they’d have to shoot 65 percent to win, which I’m sticking to. Yet and still, how long will the Lakers let them stick around?

10:40 Walton doing his best Vladi impersonation with a long triple for a 61-56 Lakers lead. That’s seven points with two dimes a steal, block and board for Walton.

9:32 Another dunk for Bynum, and this time it’s for a career high of 29 points, plus a nine-point Lakers lead. That lead is courtesy of the Lakers deciding to be done ceding good shots for the Clips, who missed 28-, 22- and 26-foot contested jumpers on their last three possessions. For the quarter, the Clips are 1-for-6, and the Lakers 3-for-6 and 2-for-2 from the line. Chances are that’s for what Phil was looking.

6:53 While Bynum just hit 30 points for the first time ever, his defense hasn’t been fantastic against the rookie Jordan, who’s 7-for-8 for 15 points.

5:32 Kobe Bryant just hit double-digit assists for the fourth consecutive game after a pass to Walton. In the process, he’s jumped up into the league’s top 25 in dimes with about 5.1 per night.

4:02 OK ‘Drew, slow down now … 36 points in 26 minutes is pretty aggressive. Lakers 78, Clips 66.

1:48 Bryant, perhaps a bit bored with how easily his dimes were coming, scored consecutive whirling buckets to complete a 13-4 Lakers run that put them up 84-70. With the Wizards coming into L.A. tomorrow night, it’s probably time for the bench.

0:44.0 And the bench it would be, with Vujacic, Ariza, and Odom joining Fish and Gasol. A minute later, Vujacic stole the ball in the lane, delivered to Ariza in the open court, who then left the ball for a trailing Odom. The result: a swooping left-handed power dunk that gave L.A. its biggest lead at 15, 86-71.

So, after the teams exchanged two points, the Lakers emerged from the quarter by making 13-of-20 shots to outscore the Clips 30-18. In the first two quarters, the Clippers had scored 27 and 28 points, but the clamps came on in the third. Again, the major story for the Lakers was Bynum’s career game of 36 points, 12 boards and three swats.

Fourth Quarter
After coming out for the final two minutes of the third, Kobe came back onto the floor to start the fourth. Not sure why, but whatever. Joining him on the floor were Gasol, Ariza, Odom and Vujacic. We probably shouldn’t expect Bryant and Gasol to stay in the game must past the eight-minute mark.

9:35 Another two dunks from Odom gave him 12 second half points (17 total) and the Lakers a 96-80 lead. LO’s shown no ill affects whatsoever in the last few games since suffering that bone bruise in his knee two weeks ago.

9:06 Joining Bynum in season-high mode was Odom, whose two free throws gave him 19 points, 10 of which came in the first three minutes of this quarter. Odom’s hit 8-of-10 shots, and Bynum 15-of-19, while Ariza and Vujacic have been at the other end of the spectrum, hitting a combined 1-of-12.

Here’s a stat: L.A.’s made 17-of-26 shots this half (66 percent).

7:27 Another dunk for Jordan, who to the naked eye has at least eight dunks tonight, and possibly all 10. The rookie has a career-high 21 points (10-of-11) with 10 rebounds. His previous high was nine points. Needless to say, L.A.’s low post defense hasn’t been the most interested this evening.

4:48 Bynum continues to dominate, getting fouled on consecutive possessions and hitting 2-of-4 free throws (8-of-12 for the game) to get to 38 points. In unrelated but not surprising news, Steve Novak wears New Balance shoes.

3:55 Bryant’s still in the game.

2:37 As the Lakers have tried to force the ball inside to Bynum, hoping to get their center to 40 points, the Clippers have gone on a 9-0 run to draw within seven points even as the Lakers led by as many as 18 in the quarter. The defensive indifference has been palpable, but no one seems too concerned at this point. Jackson’s stuck with the lineup of Vujacic, Ariza, Bryant, Odom and Bynum since Bynum came in for Gasol.

1:51 Tough runner from Kobe to halt the Clippers run, That’s 18 points and 11 dimes for Kobe. L.A. responded with a solid defensive possession, led by Some solid on-the-ball action

1:10 Triple-double time for Kobe, the 16th of his career and second in three games. His 10th rebound joined 18 points and 12 assists.

1:07 There’s ‘Drew’s 40. After a Bryant board, Bryant leaked out in transition, caught Kobe’s football pass and dunked it home, putting the final dagger on the Clips in the process. Just for fun, seconds later, ‘Drew dunked again after grabbing his 15th board to finish with 42 points, three blocks and eight offensive boards towards his 15.

Your final: 108-97 Lakers.