Game Report: Clippers defeat Lakers: 107 – 102
Matt Barnes, who just minutes earlier had been yelling “We run this ****** town” up into the stands, was surely starting to feel a little foolish. And Lakers fans had visions of the Dec. 22 Golden State game dancing through their heads.
Then, Dwight Howard – on a night when he played very well – made a crucial mistake. On the following possession, Chris Paul found himself in trouble as the clock was about to expire, but Howard fouled him when there was no need. Dwight was helping when there was no need to help.
Paul nailed his free throws, and that was basically it – the Lakers never had another chance to tie.
Chris Paul had a very good game. The NBA career leader in Offensive Rating showed why he’s a special player tonight, scoring 30 points on 11 of 25 shooting (44%) and adding 13 assists.
He was outplayed, though, by Kobe Bryant, who scored 38 points on 15 of 25 shooting (60%), and had five steals on the night.
The Lakers also received solid play in the loss from Dwight Howard (21 points and 15 rebounds), Steve Nash (12 points, 10 assists, and a team-high +12) and Jordan Hill (13 points and 7 boards).
Unfortunately for the team, though, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Darius Morris combined for a total of four points (on 2 of 14 shooting), nine rebounds, five assists, and a plus-minus of -43 in 72 combined minutes. That’s simply terrible. For whatever reason, they had nothing to contribute tonight.
And Jodie Meeks wasn’t much better. He scored 14 points, but it came on 3 of 13 shooting. Every time he put his head down and attacked the basket he was rejected at the hoop – as has been the case all year.
As a closing thought, Nash has been modestly efficient all year, but I think the Lakers need him to be a little less modest going forward – or at least until they find their groove. Nash is one of the NBA’s greatest all-time shooters, but he’s not shooting very much.
No player should ever shoot 3 of 4 in a game, as Nash did tonight. If you’re hitting 75% of your shots, then it wouldn’t be a bad strategy to take a few more…
Lakers’ Player of the Game
Kobe Bryant was clearly tonight’s Player of the Game, scoring 38 points on a hyper-efficient 15 of 25 shooting (60%), and he had five steals defensively to boot. He also was a +6 on the night, second only to Nash.
Tonight’s Top Two Tweets in my Twitter Feed
“Was that Pau Gasol’s worst game as a Laker?” – @EricPincus, post-game tweet
“What’s that noise I hear? Sounds like change.” – @BallReasons, post-game tweet
Sunday, January 6 vs. the Denver Nuggets, 6:30 p.m. PST