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Lakers Comeback Falls Short Against Clippers; 107-102 Reviewed by Momizat on . The Los Angeles Lakers played their cross-town rivals tonight in the latest installment of the battle of Los Angeles. The Lakers have had the upper hand against The Los Angeles Lakers played their cross-town rivals tonight in the latest installment of the battle of Los Angeles. The Lakers have had the upper hand against Rating:
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Lakers Comeback Falls Short Against Clippers; 107-102

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Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles ClippersThe Los Angeles Lakers played their cross-town rivals tonight in the latest installment of the battle of Los Angeles. The Lakers have had the upper hand against the Clippers for many years now, but in 2012-13, the Clippers have been the far better team.

Heading into tonight’s game, the Clippers held a nine game lead over the Lakers in the Pacific Division and were tied for the top spot in the Western Conference. There was no doubt the Clippers were the better team and the Lakers needed to come out strong in order to change some opinions.

The Lakers entered the game below .500 and they needed to beat the “other” L.A. team in order to regain some of their confidence.

First Quarter

The energy level in the arena was amazing and the fans were fully prepared to see an engaging match between two hard-nose teams. There was a great mixture of Lakers and Clippers fans in the crowd and Staples Center was truly a house divided.

The Clippers got off to a fast start to the game and they did a great job exploiting the Lakers in the paint. The Clippers were playing much better than the Lakers on the offensive end and they understood what they had to do to get the looks they wanted. The Lakers could not stop the Clippers in the open court and they faced a 12-6 deficit with 8:24 left in the first quarter.

The Lakers caught a break mid-way into the opening quarter when Blake Griffin picked up his second foul and was forced to sit on the bench. Griffin and the Clippers played with much more energy than the Lakers in the opening part of the quarter and there was little the Lakers were doing to stop the surge.

However, the Lakers had trouble gaining ground on the Clippers and stringing together successful possession despite the fact that Griffin was on the bench. Even though the Lakers had some nice buckets on the offensive end, they were not able to stop the Clippers from scoring. Defense has been an area of concern for the Lakers this season and that weakness was evident in the first quarter. At the 3:52 mark of the period, the Lakers were down 19–13.

At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers faced a seven-point deficit, 29-22, despite Kobe Bryant’s strong quarter. Bryant finished the period with six points and three steals, while Dwight Howard put in nine points and three rebounds.

Second Quarter

The Clippers came out in the second quarter on fire and the Lakers had absolutely no answer for Chris Paul. Paul was torching the Lakers from everywhere on the court and he was finding his teammates open for great looks. Less than two minutes into the period, the Clippers went on a 6-0 run and opened up a 35-22 lead.

The Lakers had trouble finding any flow to their offense and the players were unable to connect on wide open attempts. The Lakers were not playing with any continuity and there was no sense of cohesion with the players on the court. The Clippers on the other hand, were clicking on all cylinders and their energy level allowed them to make great defensive stops and benefit from second chance opportunities.

At the 6:12 mark of the period, the Lakers faced a 45-30 deficit and all the momentum was on the Clippers’ side. The Lakers did put together some nice offensive possessions, but they were still struggling on the defensive end.

The Lakers did make a small run to get back into a reasonable margin with some of the Clippers stars on the bench, and the surge was led by Bryant and Jodie Meeks. The Clippers got their starters back on the court, but the Lakers did a great job continuing their hot streak. Bryant was determined to get his Lakers back in striking distance, and thanks to an 11-0 run at the 3:00 mark, the Lakers got back within five, 48-43.

The Clippers closed out the period very well and they regained the momentum they had lost just minutes ago. The Lakers did a nice job cutting the initial deficit down to a reasonable margin, but the Clippers returned to their dominate ways and ended the half ahead 61-51. Bryant led the Lakers in scoring with 14 points in the opening half, but Chris Paul was much better with 12 points and 11 assists.

Third Quarter

The Lakers got off to a fast start in the third quarter and the team was playing much better on the offensive end. The Lakers were able to get nice looks at the basket and they once again took control of the momentum. There was also an added level of intensity on the Lakers’ side and they put together a 7-0 run to bring the deficit down to three, 61-58, at the 9:50 mark.

However, the Clippers responded to the Lakers’ run with one of their own and they brought the lead back up to double-digits. Just when it seemed like the Lakers would possibly make a surge for the lead, the Clippers shifted into a different gear and got back to their previous form. With 5:36 remaining in the period, the Clippers opened up a ten point lead, 72-62.

There was nothing the Lakers could do to stop Griffin from attacking the paint and the Lakers’ big men had problems containing his strength and athleticism. The Lakers were not having a lot of trouble scoring the ball, but their defensive focus and intensity was laughable. There were constant lapses on the defensive end and they were the main reasons why the Lakers could not cut into the Clippers’ lead.

After 36 minutes of play, the Lakers faced a 87-71 deficit and time was surely running out for struggling Lakers team.

Fourth Quarter

The Lakers once again had a nice start to the period and their 7-0 run allowed them to cut into the deficit. The Lakers were trailing by 12 points, 92-80, but they had been in this position before. Just like in the previous period, the Lakers made life difficult for the Clippers for a few minutes but they could not keep up their level of play and allowed the Clippers to regain the momentum.

Surprisingly, the Lakers continued with their nice play and it seemed like they were in control of the game. Bryant kept on punishing the Clippers with his perimeter shooting and he helped bring the Lakers back within single-digits. Kobe was very active on both ends of the court, and with a little less than six minutes left in the game, the Lakers were down by nine points, 96-87.

The Clippers resorted to using the “Hack a Howard” method with minutes remaining in the game, hoping to stop the momentum the Lakers’ built. However, the team only used the tactic for one possession and that allowed the Lakers to play with more confidence and freedom on the offensive end. Still, with 3:00 left in the game and a 99-91 deficit, the Lakers were running out of time for one final push.

In the final three minutes of the game, the Lakers took complete control and the Lakers fans in the crowd finally had reason to cheer. The Lakers rode Bryant’s hot hand and he helped bring the Lakers within two points with just 1:29 left in the game. After facing a double digit deficit for most of the game, the Lakers were in striking distance and needed a great final minute in order to steal the win.

However, Dwight Howard fouled out of the game and the Lakers lost their defensive anchor, and essentially lost the game at the same time. The Lakers’ deficit was too large to overcome and they could not make enough defensive stops to complete the major comeback.

As the final buzzer rang, the Clippers walked off the court winners, 107-102.

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About The Author

Ramneet is a senior writer for Lakers Nation and has been contributing his thoughts on the Lakers and the NBA since 2010. Follow Ramneet on Twitter @Ramneet24.

Number of Entries : 1374
  • Allan

    Pau gasoline – 27 minutes – 2 points…. Enough said.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MHM.35 Michael Mazurczyk

      and launching threes like his coach says to. give the man a break and use yo head. D’Antoni is the biggest problem (even if Pau is another of a plethora of problems). Lakers can’t win with a guy who hasn’t heard of defense. But can’t blame Pau for playing the way his coach tells him to.

      • MR. JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

        Your an idiot… Get outa here with that weak-ass excuse… Pau is to blame for the way Pau plays… I’m tired of hearing stupid-ass Gasol excuses… Blaming the coach is weak to the core… Pau is a cancer to this team… Only when Gasol was out of the line-up were the Lakers competetive… Rudy Gay is available!

        • http://www.facebook.com/MHM.35 Michael Mazurczyk

          Dude you’re the idiot. For one you don’t even know proper grammar.

          For another if you’ve played a minute of competitive basketball you know that you play how your coach tells you to. The Coach may not know how to utilize his personnel, but the players do what the Coach says. Unless your name is Kobe Bryant and your competitive league is called the NBA.

          For another despite your hate and other “fans” hate of Pau Gasol, you forget the person on this team you worship, Kobe Bryant, is the most supportive guy of Pau on this team. They’ve won together twice. Kobe knows if Pau is capable of balling more than any of us. And most of us who watch basketball should know that he can ball. But that’s aside the point.

          Now, on to the “weak” excuse of the Coach. Please, educate me with your brilliance. What team did Mike D’Antoni coach that made it to the NBA Finals? In what year did Mike D’Antoni’s team rank high in defensive efficiency? What year has Mike D’Antoni even coached anything about a shred of defense?
          Once you answer those questions, please tell me, do you honestly think Pau Gasol has been waiting all his career to shoot 3 point shots now? lol… smh…

          Also, try real hard to use your head here. But let’s think about the season. Blockbuster deals.. in come Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Antawn Jamison, etc. Start off the season with Mike Brown’s Princeton offense, which wasn’t a good fit (don’t tell me that blaming the Coach then wasn’t a good excuse, anyone can see they didn’t buy into that system). So he’s fired. Bickerstaff is named interim. They are actually somewhat successful then. Then, instead of hiring Phil (which most intelligent people also knew wouldn’t happen), they hire Mike D’Antoni. From DAY 1, I knew D’Antoni would make this team worse, not better. Want some evidence?

          1. Jordan Hill getting strangled of minutes for several games.
          2. The Always-Changing lineups and rotations.
          3. Darius Morris starting? Really?
          4. Jamison not seeing a minute for a few games.
          5. Pau Gasol being told not to play on the block.
          6. Several games with over 15 TO’s.
          7. Just a general lack of caring about defense.

          And then finally, we’re back to him now jacking up 3′s, as part of D’Antoni’s playbook.

          And you think that Pau Gasol, who has won 2 NBA championships on this team, has carried his Spanish team through the Olympics and played with loads of energy his whole career, and has the full support of Kobe Bryant, the franchise star of this team, is the CANCER to this team? I can name several problems about this team. And yes, Pau Gasol is one of them, but he is not THE problem.

          Now, I suggest you pull your head out of your behind, and watch basketball objectively for a change. Try to think about the possibility that there may be several problems to this team.

          Next, think about the lack of chemistry resulting from 3 coaches, shuffling lineups, and inconsistent rotations. You HONESTLY believe that making ANOTHER move is going to IMPROVE chemistry on the team? What substances are you using?

          No, time to ride out the storm. In all honesty, I agree with you. I think Pau doesn’t bring enough energy to his game. But he is not THE problem. He is A problem. So labeling him as a cancer and shipping him off will not send the Lakers to the Finals. But, your head may still be places it shouldn’t be so I don’t blame you for not realizing that.

          In the meantime, I and other real Lakers fans will just continue to watch this disappointing team, and hope for improvement in the future, whether it’s now or later. I actually have patience with this team, even though I can think of several pieces that would be “better” for this team.

          • MR. JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

            Dude, nobody wants to read such a long butt-hurt rant… Everything about Pau is a problem, whether you like it or not… Much like your comments, your grammar comeback is weak to the core… Who cares about a missing apostrophe or a missing letter to a slang word? …This is not a classroom and you are certainly not a teacher… You are a fake, just as you are no Lakers’ fan; you are a Nuggets fan from Denver and huge Kobe hater… You’re not fooling anybody.

          • http://www.facebook.com/MHM.35 Michael Mazurczyk

            You know, I know you can’t stand to have someone actually destroy whatever “argument” you had, but the only person obviously butt hurt here is you, but as I said before, that makes sense with your head up your butt. Just because I live in Denver doesn’t make me a Nuggets fan dude. Can’t really help where school and work takes me lol. I’ve been a Lakers fan ever since I’ve been into the sport. All my family lives in LA so sorry.

            Again, TRY to use what little you have in your brain. If I was a Kobe hater, I wouldn’t even bother being a “Top Commentor” on this site genius. Nuggets fans have way too much steam to blow on how “good” Javale McGee is and how they’ll go to the Finals.

            I know you can’t stand being wrong, but just try to accept it.

      • Terrence

        Choosing to just gloss over his weak as layup attempt. He barely jumps anymore.

        • http://www.facebook.com/MHM.35 Michael Mazurczyk

          I agree with you on that. But he never did jump very much. Pissed me off back in 2010 too when they won it all.

  • ramos

    Mitch get gasol outta la asap please I dont care who we trade him for his confidence is gone hes done as a laker he hurts us more than he helps us his defense is like waldo cant seem to find it

    • http://www.facebook.com/MHM.35 Michael Mazurczyk

      it’s too late man. the more changes made the worse this awful situation will get.

      • ramos

        Disagree sessions fit in fine for half a season we went to the finals when gasol had balls and was traded here we need someone other than a 7ft cry baby that complains to the refs every time hemisses a shot or gets burned on d

        • http://www.facebook.com/MHM.35 Michael Mazurczyk

          You know who’s the wrong fit on this team??? Coach Mike D’Antoni.

      • MR. JUAN_YOUR WARLOCK

        As long as Gasol is on the team and plays meaningful minutes, it’s not too late… IT’S IMPOSSIBLE

  • Dr. Rasheed

    Today’s game: Lakers played exceptionally well and Kobe was phenomenal. Well played by L.A. They didn’t give up. Just need some tuning…

    Reminiscing the past comments: This is what I feared and this is what happened, team game is missing.
    Same results will be in playoff. MVP ladder ranking seems good for KB24 but Lakers stats look awful.
    Other aspect; as Kobe says Lakers have multiple issues and they are working on it.

    Nash and D12 is the biggest mistake Lakers have ever made. No impact on this game.

    • hookedonnews

      Howard is not healthy. If you didn’t have him you would have Bynum who hasn’t played a game this season. Why is Steve Nash a mistake? He has done nothing but play great since returning from injury. I don’t know who you think the Lakers could get that would be better.

  • Drake_OVOXO

    As you can tell from this game that was on national tv… Kobe and his shooting isn’t the problem.

  • Big papa

    I’m tellin ya is da dumbass coach…no D

  • joe23

    i smell some trade coming soon again… and maybe firing coach at same time…

  • kevin

    listen… if were not gonna utilize gasol… then either trade um or make him the go to guy off the bench…theres not enough spacing on the floor with him and dwight.. him shooting 3′s is just wasting his talent…we can’t fire d’antoni we already owe mike brown like 11 mill so… i mean i could live with getting an athletic wing and a bench scorer for gasol… hill is a consistent 8 n 8 when he plays 18-21 minutes.. give him 30 plus minutes hell be a consistent double double.. he doesnt need the ball to be effective…look for a kenneth faried/wilson chandler type of deal something because gasol jus aint working… he cant even get off the ground.. #pathetic

  • laker people

    Laker fans ya’ll no the clippers might get rudy gay lol for caron bulter and eric beldsoe go check it out if so good bye laker people

    • Terrence

      I don’t really like that trade for them. Rudy Gay is trying to be a franchise player and doesn’t realize yet that he really isn’t one. I see him struggling to fit in with the starting unit. Their bench really needs Bledsoe’s defense, he covers for Jamal’s lack of D.

  • lakers_824

    Kobe cant do everything he cant be the top scorer and defend the best player thats jus asking too much from a 34 yeat old guy, seconddly the bigs need to show the fuk up pau and dwigjt need to help kobe with scoring and defending and box the fuck out,, and some1 needs to put some super glue on dwights hands cuz that nigga cannot fuking hold on to the ball, and what happenes to mwp no defence and no offense and meeks im not even gonn say anything ttade pau for j smith nuff said

  • doza

    Gasol is freaking weak trade him

  • Dynasty

    Having watched most of the games since the start of the season, this much is clear:

    1. Pau cannot play alongside a center. He is terrible at PF. Pau exceled playing in the triangle offense as center when the Lakers won the two titles. Bynum was not even a factor then as he was injured 95% of the time. Then, when Bynum gets inserted in the starting lineup alongside Paul, the two big men could never co-exist, and the team became slower. The team was much better when Pau was center and Odom played PF. Pau is now struggling on both offense and defense, playing with Howard. Pau is mentally and physically soft.. time to move him.

    2. Lakers team defense stinks like sh!t. Lakers look so confused on defense.

    3. This team make-up is not built for D’Antoni, and the Lakers are too big for him. D’Antoni is clearly as lost as the team. Big mistake to not have chosen Phil Jackson. For all those PJ haters who keep pointing to Phil’s last season that he lost control of the team, they haven’t watched the seasons and team closely. A major reason why they performed poorly is the Bynum cancer and Pau’s uninspired play.

    4. This Lakers bench is inconsistent and unreliable. Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, Darius Morris, Antawn Jamison?! Lakers need one or two EXPLOSIVE players off the bench.

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