Lakers 103, Clippers 108: Preseason Diary 2

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening preseason contest as the Lakers looked to see what they could do without Kobe Bryant, missing the game due to a torn wrist ligament. Check out our @LakersReporter Twitter account for more detail in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Kapono, Ebanks, Gasol and Bynum
Clippers: Paul, Billups, Butler, Griffin and Jordan

FIRST QUARTER
10:25 Among the differences between Gasol & Griffin at the power forward spot is outside shooting, as we saw to start the game when Griffin missed, and Gasol swished. Meanwhile: Ebanks, getting a chance to start as Mike Brown decides whom his opening night starter will be at SF (Matt Barnes being the other option), opened with a great defensive play to get Bynum a put-back dunk, then hit his first jumper to make it 6-3 Lakers.

6:09 Led by the league’s most skilled big man in Gasol, L.A. looked quite good offensively, scoring 21 points in the first six minutes on 10-of-12 shooting. After the Spaniard’s third jumper, Ebanks was at it again, hitting his fourth field goal to make it a 21-15 Lakers edge.

0:00 A very offensive first quarter ended with the Lakers holding a 36-33 lead, spurred late by the second and third three pointers by Steve Blake. Blake, a strong shooter throughout his career, struggled to settle in last season but has looked like a new man in training camp, proven by his 4-for-4 from three through four quarters of preseason action. Good sign for L.A. there, surely.

SECOND QUARTER
10:00 The biggest story of the day was off the court … Kobe Bryant’s wrist. Mike Brown said he’s a true “day-to-day,” as he may practice tomorrow, he may not. He may start on X-Mas, he may not. Of course, nobody’s going to bet against No. 24.

4:25 The impressive offensive showing continued for the Lakers, forcing themselves to move the ball around more in Bryant’s absence, as Bynum’s tip in of a World Peace miss and subsequent alley-oop hammer dunk off Fisher’s pass made it 52-43, capping a 10-1 run. But he wasn’t done. First a swat of Jordan on D and his 7th board, then another drop-in layup, which had the Lakers fans in the building on their feet. Bynum was 8-for-9 for a game-high 17 points, already.

0:00 A 10-2 Clips run to close the half turned around what had otherwise been a terrific quarter for the purple and gold. Like on Monday, it was Billups and Paul leading the charge for the Clips, cutting LAL’s lead to 56-53. Bynum/Gasol combined for 29 points and nine boards, giving the home team all kinds of trouble in the paint.

THIRD QUARTER
8:15 While the Clippers had started to exert themselves, taking their first lead when Jordan threw down CP3′s alley-oop, Bynum was still going off on the other end, spinning baseline for a hammer dunk that got him to a game-high 21 points with his eight boards. Clearly the star of the game to that point.

5:30 And then, like on Monday, things went downhill fast for the Lakers from that point, as multiple turnovers resulted in fastbreak points for the Clippers (including an emphatic alley-oop from Paul to Griffin). Meanwhile, Matt Barnes earned a flagrant foul for an extra push of last year’s Slam Dunk Champ, though Barnes’s teammates weren’t too upset about it since Griffin had been talking trash throughout the two games.

1:00 Back-to-back triples from Blake (4-for-5, the only miss a full-court heave at the half) and second round pick Andrew Goudelock (his second) cut the Clips lead to six … however, Mo Williams scored the final four points of the quarter, the first on two free throws that L.A.’s bench fiercely protested (bump on the perimeter) and then a pull-up J near the buzzer. As such, LAL trailed 83-73 into the fourth.

FOURTH QUARTER
9:25 With turnover numbers like 20-6 going in the Clippers favor, it’s a wonder that L.A. was somehow within seven points at 86-79 after the third triple from Goudelock. Credit 55 percent overall shooting for keeping L.A. close, led by Bynum and Gasol’s 16-for-21.

5:32 Troy Murphy, who reportedly didn’t miss during his work out for the Lakers prior to his signing, drained his first three of the game for the second straight contest, this time bringing L.A. within three. Ryan Gomes, however, countered with a three of his own to get the lead back to six. In the next time out, assistant John Kuester drew up a play to get Murphy another open look, but Blake ended up getting fouled off the ball. Brown allows his assistants a lot of autonomy, which seems to encourage maximum energy/effort from the staff.

0:00 All of a sudden, a Metta World Peace three (his second in the final minutes after he started the preseason 2-for-17) and 1-of-2 Bynum free throws got L.A. within three. They had a chance to tie moments later after a defensive stop, but Griffin flopped (at least if you ask Barnes) to draw a critical offensive foul. With 15.2 seconds left, the Lakers then had to foul excellent FT shooter Randy Foye, who made both.

Annnnd your final: Clippers 109, Lakers 103. It was an impressive all-around effort from the Lakers to be in the ball game late despite a 22-6 turnover margin, having Kobe Bryant in street clothes and Gasol and Fisher resting in the final minutes. Some numbers for you on the way out the door:

POSTGAME NUMBERS
73 Andrew Bynum’s field goal percentage on 11-of-15 field goals, most of which came at or around the rim. He was just too big for the Clips to handle, and the young center featured a bevy of low post moves to get himself better access to the rim. He led L.A. with 26 points, adding a game-high 11 rebounds and two blocks.

20 Points off the bench for Steve Blake in 28 minutes on 6-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three-point range. Blake said in camp that he was excited to play in a single-guard front (as opposed to the triangle), and that certainly seemed the case on Wednesday. He added three assists.

16 Turnover differential in the ball game, as the Lakers coughed it up 22 times to just six from the Clippers, featuring point guards Chris Paul (10 assists, no turnovers), Mo Williams (two dimes, no turnovers) and Chauncey Billups (four assists, two turnovers). This turned out to be the primary difference in the ballgame.

13 Point differential in the third quarter, due in large part to a 10-1 turnover disadvantage for the Lakers, enough to make L.A.’s winning the fourth quarter 30-25 irrelevant.

3 Three-pointers made by Andrew Goudelock, L.A.’s second round pick out of College of Charleston. Brought in for his shooting, Goudelock didn’t disappoint, and he added two of his three assists in the fourth quarter.