Lakers 91, Clippers 107: Running Diary

60157224Lakers – Clippers Gameday Page
We took a look at the Lakers – Clippers contest in Los Angeles as the Lakers closed their 2009-10 regular season.

Inactives
Lakers: Andrew Bynum (Achilles)
Clippers: Baron Davis

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Brown*, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Clippers: Steve Blake, Rasual Butler, Travis Outlaw, Chris Kaman, DeAndre Jordan
*Starting for the second straight game in Kobe Bryant’s absence.

OKC on the Horizon
While L.A.’s coaching staff and players have stressed the importance of focusing on the team’s final game against the Clippers, it’s hard not to think about the looming matchup with Oklahoma City set to begin over the weekend. We’ll have a full preview available on Lakers.com on Thursday afternoon to ensure that you’re ready well in advance.

60157231First Quarter
5:57 A rather nondescript opening stanza saw the Clips claim a 12-11 lead into the first time out, though it was clear that the vast majority of fans in the building were wearing Lakers Purple and Gold. It was no surprise that in-fantastic-form Pau Gasol had it going early for the Lakers, producing six points with three boards.

2:06 Sasha Vujacic went after his second big dunk in traffic in a week, but was fouled on his way to the rim before converting both free throws to put L.A. up 24-21. Bench mate Josh Powell had nailed a triple on the team’s previous possession as Phil Jackson was surely looking to get heavy minutes from his reserves for the second straight night. Part of that motivation: Orlando had locked up the No. 2 overall seed by beating Philadelphia earlier on Wednesday night.

0:00 In case you’re curious, the rest of the West had nearly shaped up on the season’s final day, with Dallas locking into the two seed and San Antonio into the seventh with Portland in sixth. All that remained was the Phoenix at Utah game. If Utah won, they’d get the three seed and play Portland (with Denver getting the five seed), but if Phoenix won, they’d get the three and put Utah into the five seed to Denver’s No. 4. Meanwhile, Shannon Brown’s jumper put the Lakers up five with 13 seconds left before DeAndre Jordan pulled two points back to cut L.A.’s (“L.A.” always refers to the Lakers on Lakers.com) lead to 28-25 after one.

Second Quarter
6:28 Powell continued a solid stretch by finding Luke Walton for an 11-foot jumper that got L.A. within a point, then continued to attack the glass to the tune of seven boards in 13 minutes by the close of the first half (new J-Peezy’s Playlist coming soon, promise).

2:51 L.A.’s No. 1 concern in its final two games was simply to stay healthy, which is why Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum didn’t play. Unfortunately, Jordan Farmar strained his left hamstring against Sacramento on Tuesday night, and Sasha Vujacic sprained his left ankle against the Clippers after landing awkwardly on a jump shot (he was fouled). Really a tough break for Vujacic and the Lakers.

1:20 Gasol went right along with his scoring/rebounding routine by dropping in a turnaround hook (14 points) and grabbing a defensive rebound (eight boards) to bring L.A. within three at 50-47, though two Steve Blake free throws and Powell’s put-back would make it 52-49 at half.

60157227Third Quarter
7:06 The stink of Vujacic’s injury seemed to carry into the third quarter, as an Odom put back was immediately negated by Smith’s short hoop to push the Clippers to a 65-54 lead on strength of a 13-5 edge in the period. The Lakers, understandably, seemed a bit hesitant.

0:00 Gasol played the entire third quarter to climb to 18 points with 17 rebounds, but the Lakers were outscored 26-16 while continuing to look tentative. No need to elaborate much on that point.

Fourth Quarter
9:09 A quick 7-0 run featuring five points from Brown got the Lakers to within eight points after they’d fallen behind by 15 early in the fourth. Lamar Odom was the only starter remaining in the contest.

3:53 Perhaps the most interesting thing going on was Odom’s body banging with a few of the Clippers off the ball as the red and blue squad continued to build their lead to as many as 18 points, though Powell’s put-back did get him to seven points with nine boards off the bench in 24 minutes.

0:00 The Clips closed the game out shortly thereafter, ultimately winning 107-91 as the Lakers at least avoided any further injuries. Odom finished with 21 points and eight boards, Gasol 18 and 17 while Brown also scored 18.

The Lakers will now have three days without a game before beginning the first round of the playoffs against Oklahoma City on Sunday. Until then, your numbers:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
1 Triple-double for Clippers point guard Steve Blake, who scored 23 points with 11 assists and 10 rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting (4-of-6 3-pointers).

2 Unfortunate injuries in as many days for the Lakers as Sasha Vujacic’s severely sprained left ankle followed Jordan Farmar’s strained left hamstring from the previous night. Farmar, however, is expected to be OK.

17 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, allowing him to finish with an average of 11.3. That’s good for a career high, and fifth in the NBA.

21 Points for Lamar Odom to lead the Lakers on an efficient 7-for-12 from the field.

39.5 L.A.’s shooting percentage, over 10 points lower than the Clippers’ 50.6 percent.