The battle of Los Angeles had its first act as the Lakers and Clippers met at Staples Center. The Lakers came into this game struggling at 0-2, while the Clippers won their season opener to come into the game at 1-0.
Kobe Bryant came in off an impressive 31-point performance against the Phoenix Suns, but the rest of the team continued to struggle offensively. The Clippers are led by one of the best duos in the NBA in point guard Chris Paul, and explosive power forward Blake Griffin.
The first time these two teams played last year, the Lakers shocked the Clippers as the bench played the entire fourth quarter. But the Clippers blew out the Lakers in the other three games including giving the Lakers their worst loss in franchise history in the final meeting.
Jeremy Lin got the first bucket of the game for the Lakers with a three-pointer, but the Clippers responded with three straight baskets to take a 6-3 lead. Lakers turned the ball over early as the Clippers increased the lead to 11-4 before a Boozer jumper cut the lead to five. J.J. Redick would get going for the Clippers, scoring nine straight points as the Lakers quickly fell behind by double digits. A beautiful Bryant pass to Jordan Hill followed by a steal and layup by Jeremy Lin got the Lakers to within 11 at 27-16. Lin continued his early aggressiveness with a fadeaway jumper and followed that by hitting Jordan Hill for an open jumper. Ed Davis’ layup got the Lakers within nine points at 31-22 to end the quarter.
Both second-strings started the second quarter and surprisingly, Robert Sacre took advantage with a jumper and two free throws to cut the Clippers lead to eight. Jamal Crawford quickly got things back together for the Clippers with a three-point play and transition jumper to push the Clippers lead right back to 12. The teams traded baskets for a couple of possessions before the Lakers went on a 7-0 run punctuated by a beautiful assist from Kobe to Boozer that cut the Clippers lead sown to six at 44-38. The Lakers continued to push as a ridiculous Kobe three and a Boozer layup cut the lead down to three. Chris Paul began to take over, drawing multiple fouls to get the Clipper lead back to seven, but the Lakers stayed in the game behind Kobe and Lin. But a Blake Griffin corner three and a Hawes FT gave the Clippers a 62-56 lead at halftime.
Both teams started off a little slow in the second half before a 7-0 Lakers run with baskets by Lin, Johnson, and Hill gave the Lakers their first lead since 3-0 in the first quarter. The Clippers got a couple baskets, but could do nothing to slow down the Lakers hot start as a gorgeous Kobe reverse layup preceded a Jordan Hill jumper as the Lakers jumped out to a five point lead. Hill remained on fire as his jumper pushed the Laker lead to six. The Lakers really struggled with fouls as Hill, Boozer, Davis, and Johnson all picked up their fourth fouls in the quarter, but a Sacre dunk kept the Lakers ahead by three. The Lakers continued their second-half push behind Jordan Hill and Ellington added a couple of jumpers, but a Jamal Crawford three-pointer ended the corner with the Lakers ahead 90-86.
The Lakers and Clippers traded baskets to begin the quarter including Crawford answering a Clarkson three. The Clippers tied the game on back-to-back Jordan dunks, but two Hill jumpers put the Lakers right back up by four. Fouls continued to be the story of the game as the Clippers stayed in the game by way of the free throw line. Lin hit a crazy fadeaway three-pointer, but Jamal Crawford responded with three free throws as Johnson fouled out of the game and the teams remained tied at 106 with four minutes remaining. The game continued to go down the wire as the Clippers held on to a one-point game with less than three minutes left. Ellington tied the game with a three, but Crawford matched him on the other end. A Kobe jumper cut the lead to one and the Lakers got a stop but Kobe missed the jumper to give the Lakers the lead. Two Griffin free throws pushed the Clippers ahead by three with 20 seconds remaining. Kobe’s three was off-line and JJ Redick free throws pushed it out of hand as the Lakers dropped their third straight game to open the season 118-111.
Lakers Post-Game Report: Kobe Bryant’s ‘Shocking’ Reaction To His Reverse Dunk, Plus Talks Jeremy Lin’s Assertiveness, “Chumps” And “Pushovers”