Postgame Quotes: Lakers 99, Clippers 92

Lakers - ClippersThe Lakers controlled most of the their season opener against the Clippers despite the narrowing of a double-digit lead to just a point at the third quarter’s close, ultimately winning by seven behind 33 points from Kobe Bryant and double-doubles from both Andrew Bynum (26 and 13) and Lamar Odom (16 and 13).

Below are the postgame quotes from both head coaches and several players from L.A.’s two basketball teams:

Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson
On tonight’s game: “I thought we had a pretty good run in the first quarter. Second quarter, their second unit really outplayed us quite consistently there for the first four, five, six minutes. We got the momentum back and carried it into the second half. That third quarter was a real letdown for us which is not an issue we’ve had before. We missed a lot of easy shots and gave up a lot of opportunities to them and they came storming back in the game. I thought that second unit in the fourth quarter with Lamar out there really got things going and in the fourth we were able to sustain it. A long game for a lot of these guys and a lot of minutes for a number of starters.”

On the pre-game championship ring ceremony:
“It was a nice ceremony. I think it’s always tough to play games after those kind of ceremonies. I think some of the energy is always difficult to maintain because there is a lot of energy that’s dissipated I think when you go out in that and have that kind of ceremony and this kind of re-living the last year and you’re not ready to step up and march to the tune of this season right yet. We got it back. We did okay.”

On the performance of Ron Artest: “Ron did really well. I thought he shut down defensively really well. Some offensive things he had opportunities on he didn’t complete, but I thought he looked like he was in the mix and knew what was going on most of the time and felt comfortable with what we were trying to do.”

On Andrew Bynum’s defense: “He did pretty well. The first half we talked a little bit about our rotations and help defense and I thought Drew was much better in the second half giving help.”

Tex WinterLakers Forward Ron Artest
On atmosphere of first game and where he stood during ring ceremony: “I just waited back here and waited for them to enjoy their moment, and after they enjoyed their moment I came out and enjoyed it with the team”

On if ring ceremony gave him extra motivation: “At this point there’s no extra motivation needed. I’m already motivated to win.”

Lakers Forward Lamar Odom
On his reaction to the ring ceremony: “It felt good, part of history… I guess when we won, I got caught up in the moment a little bit and the parade as well, and today realized what we accomplished and was really proud of it. The company we’re in now… have a banner up that I’m a part of, it feels good.”

On former Lakers legends in attendance for ring ceremony: “This is an amazing franchise to be a part of and to be in that company is a big deal for a kid from Queens.

Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant
On the evening: “It’s a great night, it’s a magical night. The last time we really reminisced on past seasons so it felt good.”

On playing a game after ring ceremony “We just played with a sense of enjoyment that carried us for the first half. In the second half we had to get to the grind a little more…

Clippers Head Coach Mike Dunleavy
On overall performance tonight: “We didn’t do a good job tonight. I thought we were careless with the basketball. When we took care of the ball we did well and we kept ourselves in the game. There was a differential with the turnovers and the offensive boards. They are a very long team and strong at their positions. We didn’t do a good job of going to their bodies and creating space for us to rebound the ball. Had we taken care of one of those areas, we could have given ourselves a chance to win this one.”

On whether or not tonight was a moral victory: “We are not looking for any moral victories, I am glad that our guys played hard all the way through. There were some times during the game where they could have folded and could have left it right open. Instead we kept coming back and making some plays, our bench came in and gave us a nice lift. Defensively, I thought we were pretty decent. I thought we did a pretty good job at contesting shots. We won the rebound game but the 17 offensives were a killer.”

On playing the 2009 champions on an opening night: “Taking them on any night is a tough challenge. They put a lot of pressure on you, obviously with Kobe Bryant, Artest, and Bynum, those three guys are tough match-ups.”

On next opponent: “Phoenix has a lot of fire power, with their offensive team and Nash running the show, Jason Richardson is a big scorer, Amar’e Stoudemire is a big scorer, they’ve got a lot of weapons. I think we can match-up against anybody in the league. We played these guys fairly decently and we will go to work tomorrow night.”

Clippers Guard Baron Davis
On playing the Lakers tonight: “Well last year we got blown out but I think this year it’s a different team. We really felt we could’ve won this game. If you take away a lot of mistakes that we made at the end of the first quarter and all the turnovers we had tonight it would’ve been a different ball game. And that’s just what happens when you play against a championship caliber team.”

On not having Blake Griffin: “We’ve got a good, deep team and we’ll win a bunch of ball games while Blake is out. Hopefully we’ll make it comfortable for him when he comes back.”

On his poor performance: “I couldn’t find the explosion that I needed in my cuts and I was thinking more rather than just playing.”

Clippers Center Chris Kaman
On playing the Lakers tonight: “We did a good job of coming back strong when their second team fell back. Then a few mistakes happened and you’re down ten, and that’s not a good place to be when you’re playing the Lakers. In the second half we played better and didn’t turn the ball over as much. But the Lakers capitalized on big plays and then we couldn’t catch up.”

On the Clippers’ chances against the Lakers tonight: “I thought we had a chance to win the game tonight. We were close for most of the game. But overall and the end of the game we just weren’t there.”

Los Angeles Clippers Center Chris Kaman on losing Blake Griffin:
“You know I don’t really care about all that stuff you hear. Your dealt the cards and you play them- there’s nothing you can do about it. Blake’s a good player- he plays hard, he’s got great potential in this league and I thought he had a great preseason. But all we can do is look forward and try to get some wins.”

Los Angeles Clippers Guard Eric Gordon on his performance tonight:
“It was OK. It would’ve been better if we ruined the Lakers’ opening night. It was a tough one, though, and we just have to look forward onto tomorrow.