Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Friday evening home contest against the Clippers, the team’s third game since the All-Star break, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Clippers: E. Bledsoe, R. Foye, R. Gomes, B. Griffin, D. Jordan
5:13 That the Clippers’ roster was depleted for this contest was most obvious in the backcourt, as starting point guard Baron Davis was shipped to Cleveland at the trade deadline and starting shooting guard Eric Gordon remained out (since Jan. 22) with a wrist injury. In their place was rookie Eric Bledsoe and still-young Randy Foye, who actually buried two threes early to keep the Clips close. Soon after, however, Gasol stroked three straight jumpers to put the Lakers up 20-12.
0:00 Despite making 11-of-18 shots in the first quarter to score 30 points, the Lakers allowed 31 to the Clips, nearly half of which came on five three-pointers, including two more from Foye. The blue and red shirts also held their own on the glass, outrebounding the Lakers 8-7, and passed the ball well to assist on 10 of their 11 field goals.
5:12 After getting a nice rest, Gasol returned to immediately convert an alley-oop and another jumper to reach a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, towards 16 points to lead the Lakers in a 45-40 contest. L.A. had yet to really pick things up from an intensity standpoint, allowing the Clips to hang around. Those six makes bumped Gasol from 12th to 10th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 53.0 percent.
3:03 It’s always big news when something happens to Kobe Bryant on the injury front, so when he asked out of the game after looking to bang elbows with Foye was a concern for the Lakers. Bryant remained on the bench for a few minutes after talking to Gary Vitti, but ultimately headed back to the locker room with another Lakers’ trainer, Alex McKechnie. Back on the court, Odom hit his second triple and Gasol his seventh deuce to give L.A. a 52-48 lead at the break. Despite the close score, the Lakers looked in pretty firm control…
4:19 … And they’d begin to assert that control on the scoreboard as well, opening up on the Clips in the third thanks mostly to Bryant. Apparently, Black Mamba enjoys hurting his funny bone, which was the official diagnosis of his second quarter ailment (more technically: ulnar nerve contusion). He hit 5-of-7 shots in the third quarter to score 11 of his 17 points, putting the Lakers up 73-60.
3:46 Sorry, let’s make that 6-of-8 in the quarter after Bryant nailed his second triple of the quarter, opening a 14-point lead for the Lakers. In reaching 20 points, Bryant was just 15 away from passing Elvin Hayes for seventh on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Need more Bryant historical stats? OK: earlier in the game, he reached his 1,500th point on the season for the 11th straight year, the most since Karl Malone did it 12 consecutive times from 1986-87 to 1998-99.
0:00 Bryant nearly reached 20 points in the quarter, but his transition dunk came just after the buzzer sounded. He’d have to settle for 18 in the period on 8-of-11 field goals. Meanwhile, the Lakers played their second straight solid defensive quarter, holding the Clips to 17 points after they mustered 19 in the second quarter, just six more total than their 31 in the first. The result: an 85-67 LAL lead after three.
9:14 L.A. hadn’t gotten much off its bench in the first half, but both Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown were making their collective presence felt since entering late in the third. Brown, after missing all but one of his first eight shots, nailed a triple and an absurd reverse layup, while Odom hit his third triple of the game to reach nine points with six boards early in the fourth, putting L.A. up 21.
4:17 The Clippers suddenly found some life, rolling off an 11-0 run to cut L.A.’s lead to 15, but Steve Blake responded by throwing consecutive alley-oops to rookie Devin Ebanks, and Brown added a steal and flush of his own to quickly restore the lead to 21 points.
0:00 That would be all, the Lakers riding out a 108-95 victory to improve to 41-19 on the season and 3-0 out of the All-Star break.