Griffin Struggles, But Clippers Oust Lakers, 99-92
In a Sunday afternoon contest for the Lakers, they were faced off with their hallway rival, little brother, Los Angeles Clippers.
Looking to continue their seven-game winning streak, the Lakers played as the road team in their own arena, as the matchup was considered a home game for the Clippers.
Baron Davis scored the first basket of the game, but the Lakers jumped out to an early 6-2 lead behind six unanswered points.
However the Lakers’ run was halted by Davis, who hit a deep three to cut the Clippers’ deficit to one.
It didn’t take long for Blake Griffin to provide the fans with a highlight-reel dunk – driving baseline before slamming home a one-handed reverse hammer to bring the Clippers within one, 8-7.
Eric Gordon’s eight first-quarter points kept the Clippers in control for the rest of the period. They took a 12-10 lead with 6:41 remaining and didn’t look back, closing out the first 12 minutes with a 27-22 lead over the defending champs.
The Lakers opened the second quarter on a roll, scoring the first seven points of the period to take the lead away from the Clippers, 29-27.
However, the Clippers didn’t let the game get away from them and despite being outscored 23-17 in the period, their backcourt duo of Davis and Gordon combined for 10 points to keep their team within striking distance.
Griffin continued to struggle, as his reverse dunk in the first quarter was his only basket of the first half. With Griffin struggling, the Lakers’ big man trio of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom helped the Lakers took a 55-54 lead as the two teams headed into the locker room for the halftime break.
A layup by Davis and a three-point-play from Ryan Gomes turned the scoreboard back in the Clippers’ favor to start the second half, 49-47.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, they caught Kobe Bryant on a good night, and he reeled off seven points unanswered points in one minute to give the Lakers a five point lead, 58-53.
Bryant continued his burst offensive dominance, finding Bynum down low for an easy score, then on the next play down, knocking down a 10-foot jumper to extend the Lakers’ advantage to seven.
Despite coming into the game averaging 22 points and just under 13 rebounds per game, Griffin was held under wraps by the Lakers defense, and after three quarters only had eight points on 3-12 shooting.
A deep 3-pointer by Bryant put the Lakers up by 12, 67-55; however, Gordon closed out the period on a roll – finishing two layups and nailing a fallaway trey from the corner as the clock expired.
Behind 14 third-quarter points from Bryant, the Lakers and Clippers headed into the final period with the Lakers in the lead, 71-68.
The Lakers and Clippers played even for much of the final quarter, but after about six minutes of play, Griffin and Gordon went on an offensive tear, and ran their lead up to nine, 94-85 with 1:39 remaining in the game.
Going down to the wire, the Lakers cut the Clippers’ lead to six with 24 seconds to play; however, it wouldn’t be enough, as the Clippers held on to win, 99-92.
With 5.7 to play, Odom’s frustrations got the better of him and he got into a scuffle between Davis and Odom broke out under the basket, which resulted in the ejections of Davis, Odom, Artest and Griffin.
Behind 30 points from Gordon and Griffin’s 26th consecutive double-double (18 points, 15 rebounds), the Clippers picked up their ninth win in their past 13 games.
Bryant finished with 27 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough, and the Lakers’ seven-game winning streak was ended.
The Lakers, who lost only their 12th game of the season, will have their hands full with another young team on Monday night, when they next return to the court, as they play host to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder.