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The battle of LA: Clippers create a little history with victory over rivals Lakers

The Lakers have long been the leading basketball franchise in LA – but under Vinny del Negro and with stars such as Griffin, Crawford and Chris Paul, the Clippers have been having a great season and last night took the season series between the two rivals to 2-0. The Daily Shift’s Kevin Bolger has more…

LA Clippers Chris Paul in action for Team USA in 2012

LA Clippers Chris Paul in action for Team USA in 2012

LA Lakers @ LA Clippers:

 

1st Quarter

2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

Final

LA Lakers

22

29

20

31

102

LA Clippers

29

32

26

20

107

 

The Clippers have not gone 2-0 against the Lakers ever since they moved to LA prior to the 1985-85 season. In the time since then, they have very much been “the other team” in LA. Forced to watch on as the Lakers captured the imagination of generations of NBA fans, Clippers fans would be forgiven for thinking their day in the sun might never come.

But the 2012-13 season has been a record setting one for the city’s so called second team. They have built somewhat of a fortress in their humble abode that is the Staples centre and while their close rivals have been faltering, the Clippers have been blazing a trail in the NBA.

Up until last night’s game they had an astonishing 10 straight home wins to their name and despite the best efforts of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, they made it a tied franchise record of 11 home wins on the bounce; beating the Lakers by 5 at 107 to 102. They will have a chance to make franchise history on Saturday as the Golden State Warriors pay a visit to the Staples Centre.

The Clippers were missing their seasons second highest scorer in last night’s game in Jamal Crawford. He sat out the game with a “sore foot”. In the past, missing such an important player heading in to a game with the Lakers would have given the fans cause for serious worry. But the present situation the Clippers find themselves in is one of unusual power. Even with Crawford missing, they had the strength in depth to put it to the Lakers and with devastating effect.

That came in the shape of Chris Paul who scored a season’s best of 30 points, including 6 rebounds and 13 assists. 12 of those points came in the 1sthalf of the game, but he did manage 11 of his 13 assists and 5 of his 6 rebounds in the 1st half. His most important single contribution however probably came in the form of an early 2nd quarter jump shot, which was quickly followed by an interception on the Lakers counter which led to him laying up an alley-oop for star Blake Griffin. This laid down a marker and was an omen of what was to come from Griffin and Paul throughout the night.

And if that was a statement of things to come, Kobe Bryant’s monstrous dunk over Chris Paul just minutes later was indicative of the Lakers reliance on their talisman. Kobe put a whopping 38 points past the Clippers last night in what was his second highest scoring game of the season. In previous years Bryant would expect nothing less than a victory to follow a superb individual performance like that. But a new season yields a new Lakers, and even with Howard, Nash and Bryant in the team, they continue to disappoint with just 15 wins to their 17 losses.

The Clippers on the other hand have an impressive 26 wins to just 8 losses. And with 10:36 on the clock in the 4th quarter, LAC extended their lead to a game high of 19 points. At this point you expect the Clippers to kick on, but Bryant had other ideas. The one man show scored 12 points in the next 9 minutes of play to bring the game back to just 2 points – making a nervy spectacle for the Clippers fans in attendance. His 23 footer with 1:29 on the clock should have been the boost the Lakers needed to swing the momentum in their favour and take the lead for the first time in the game. But Bryant’s 4th quarter heroics were to be undone by team mate Dwight Howard, who fouled out on in form Paul, who converted both from the free throw line.

After that it was game over and while Kobe failed to convert a 3 pointer at one end, Paul raced down to the other to convert a 21 foot jump shot with 19 seconds on the clock, taking the game 103-97. The game finished at 107-102, Clippers claiming their 2nd Lakers scalp of the campaign. Manager Vinny del Negro was full of praise for Paul after the game, saying “he is as competitive as there is”.

In the end an ageing Lakers team were not able to keep up with the pace of their energetic neighbours. They shot a 46.1 FG percentage to the Clippers 50.0 and only converted 6 of 25 3 point attempts in comparison to the Clippers 6 from just 14 attempts. The Clippers were also better with percentage points from the paint, though the Lakers scored more, giving cause for concern about their discipline issues (2 players fouled out in the first 6 minutes of the game). The Clippers also lead in rebounds with 47 to 36, and their hustle was undeniably key to them getting the win in the second of this seasons series in LA.

Bryant was ever the exception to the rule for the Lakers, shooting an impressive 38 points after a 15 for 25 shooting average. Paul will capture the headlines though for his game winning performance for the Clippers, though Griffin will be equally pleased with his performance having scored 24 points and getting 5 rebounds, despite fouling out early in the 1st quarter.

Overall the positives just keep coming for the Clippers and they have the chance to make franchise history on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors if they win for most consecutive home wins. The Lakers on the other hand will look to pick themselves up on Sunday when they host the Denver Nuggets in LA.

*Lead image via Wikimedia Commons
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About Kevin Bolger

Sports editor at the Daily Shift. Currently in final year of Physical Education & Math teaching at the University of Limerick. My biggest flaw is that I care too much *insert picture of me helping blind orphans to read. Follow me on twitter @kevin_bolger

3 comments on “The battle of LA: Clippers create a little history with victory over rivals Lakers

  1. Clippers are the new boss in town :).

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