For to long the Los Angeles Clippers had been disrespected by the entire Lakers organization, their players, and their fans. For to long Lakers fans had laughed at the Clippers expense and for to long it had appeared it would never change.
Over the last three years, the changing of the guard has been occurring in Hollywood, and last night was the manifestation of the 180 degree turn that the basketball culture has taken in the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers didn’t make the Lakers look like the JV team, or the Freshmen team, or the middle school team, they made the Lakers look like a team elementary schoolers just learning the fundamentals of the game. When the game went to half time last night on TNT, Kenny Smith was seen walking on to the set with food and promptly said “If the Lakers can take the night off, so can I.” That about sums up the performance of the purple and gold last night.
Doc Rivers never let his guys take their foot off the pedal as the Clips throttled the Lakers by 48 points. The 142-94 victory marked the sixth out of the last seven meetings that the Clips have taken from their cross town rivals. Ten of LAC’s players scored over 9 points and eight guys were in double digits.
The Clippers wings have been plagued with injuries as Jamal Crawford, JJ Reddick, and Jared Dudley did not participate last night, but it went unnoticed as Darren Collison remained red hot, scoring 24 points last night in thirty minutes of action. Collison has averaged 19 points per contest in the trio of games the Clippers have had in the month of March. DC has also been shooting close to 56% from the field in those contests, including a 50% clip from behind the arc. If he can maintain a level near this as the injured Clippers recover, their absence will go relatively undetected by the causal fan.
This brings up a great debate topic, has Doc Rivers created a new aged San Antonio Spurs offense? We saw it with CP3’s injury, and we are now seeing it with the slew of injuries the Clippers have incurred now, but the Clippers plug new players into their lineup and continue to win. By no means have the Clippers achieved the long term efficiency San Antonio has, but the fact their winning trend doesn’t diminish when they lose key players is testament to the system Doc Rivers has created. With the race between the Rockets and Clippers heating up for 3rd place in the Western Conference, Los Angeles needs to continue this efficient style of play and hopefully newcomers Glen Davis and Danny Granger can be a big part of it.