Below is a running diary of L.A.’s preseason contest against the Clippers in a Staples road game, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Meeks, World Peace, Gasol and Sacre
Clippers: E. Bledsoe, W. Green, C. Butler, B. Griffin, D. Jordan
7:40 The Lakers started the game at a turtle’s pace, missing their first four shots and turning the ball over three times before Robert Sacre and Steve Nash scored on back-to-back trips (Clips up 5-4). Sacre was in for Dwight Howard, resting since the Lakers also play tomorrow night, while Jodie Meeks started for Kobe Bryant, who strained his right foot on Sunday and will not play on Thursday either.
0:00 L.A. got some good news on the injury front as well, with Jordan Hill returning to action after missing the previous five games with a herniated disc. He made his impact immediately, helping the Lakers hold a lead out of the first quarter, then grabbing his fifth rebound on a put-back dunk early in the second quarter. That’s an excellent sign for the Lakers, who may have feared being without Hill for a longer stretch, but will now clearly have him to start the season.
5:40 Want some more Hill info? The power forward added a 17-foot swish to reach six points with his five boards and a block, his J tying the game at 35. Meanwhile, Meeks drained his second triple of the half. That’s another good sign for the Lakers, who need his shooting to spread the floor.
0:00 Things looked pretty good overall for the purple and gold … at least until the final two minutes of the half, when the Clips reeled off a 9-0 run. Eric Bledsoe was the spark plug, with six first half steals with L.A. turning it over 11 times, and sparking an 8-3 edge in fast break points.
9:16 But back came the Lakers, reeling off a 13-2 and 11-0 run to start the third, punctuated by five straight points from Metta World Peace and a pair of buckets from Gasol. Sacre continued a solid performance from the 60th overall pick of the Draft, reaching 11 points with five boards and two dimes.
4:12 A strong quarter continued with L.A. going up 68-60 behind two Ebanks free throws, until the Clips finally found an answer – again behind Bledsoe and his eight steals with 16 points – with a 7-0 run to close the gap. Gasol managed a dunk to reach a game-high tying 15 points and keep L.A. up one going into the fourth, a 33-23 edge in the third for the Lakers despite that late Clips push.
5:55 Two Steve Blake three-pointers and six free throws from Meeks had L.A. right back in the game after the Clips had appeared to be running away yet again, an 85-76 lead suddenly down to a single point as MWP and Gasol returned to the fray. On the other hand, yet another turnover (18) led to a Clips fast break layup (23 FB points to LAL’s 9), helping keep LAC on top.
0:00 Ultimately, all the turnovers and resulting easy baskets from the Clips were too much for the Lakers to overcome, especially with Howard and Bryant watching in street clothes. Your final: Clips 97, Lakers 91.
Last season, the Clips won both preseason games before losing the regular season series 2-1. With that said, the players on the court certainly couldn’t have enjoyed losing for the seventh straight time. Gasol’s 17, eight and four in 36 minutes led the Lakers, while Jordan Hill put up 12 and eight off the bench, and Blake 11 points with four assists. Bledsoe (22 points, 11 assists, nine steals) and Barnes (18 points, six boards, four assists) were terrific for the Clippers.
We’ll see you tomorrow night in San Diego.