Sports Out West

Lakers defeat Clippers 116-103 behind bench’s 76-point output

Photo Credit: Lakers.com

The 76-point outburst by the Los Angeles Lakers’ bench in a 116-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers should not come as a shock.

It was just a week ago in the team’s second to last preseason game that the Lakers’ bench scored 74 points in a 108-94 victory over the Utah Jazz, led by Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry and Jordan Hill.

In the team’s regular season opener on Tuesday, that was the same story as those same three players once again were major factors in the collective effort.

“I love our second unit to tell you the truth,” said Henry, who had a career-high 22 points off the bench including 10 points in the decisive fourth quarter. “We have a lot of young, athletic, and energetic guys. We come in the game, we change the pace, the tempo, (and) we change the outlook of what we do.”

That was evident as the Lakers’ bench played the entire fourth quarter outscoring the Clippers 41-24 on 65 percent shooting from the field, and also scored the team’s final 46 points of the game.

The 74-point outpour is the second-highest total from a Lakers bench with the first at 85 points on March 6, 1985 against the Golden State Warriors, which was the most points by a Lakers bench since 1970-71.

Hill was effective in his 18 minutes on the floor, scoring 12 points on a efficient 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds that included seven on the offensive end and was proud of his team’s performance against one of the league’s best teams.

“I am going to do what I do,” Hill said. “I’m going to hit the board at all times, but everybody that came off the bench beside me, it was a definitely the bench that fired everything up. We just went out there and we competed. We didn’t lie down and we weren’t afraid. We just had the heart to win and we did.”

Farmar also liked the team’s performance, and knows if they continue their balanced bench play that they’ll be a tough team to beat.

“We have a chance to do things,” Farmar said, who had nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to go along with six assists in a team-high 27 minutes played. “If everybody takes the shots they know they can make and we’re aggressive and play toward each other’s strengths, it’ll be like [tonight's performance] more often than not.”

Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni was impressed by the bench’s performance against the Clippers, but it did not take him by surprise as he has seen that type of play from the Lakers’ reserves all throughout the preseason.

“They have been showing it in the preseason and exhibition games,” D’Antoni said. ” They have been good. It’s gives them a different look and they turned the gas on. Probably to be fair the Clippers got a little tired (as) it was their first game and they didn’t have their legs fully. These guys are young and full of adrenaline, so we were able to do something with it.”

The Lakers had entered the fourth quarter trailing the Clippers 79-75 and proceeded to go on a 33-12 run that put the them up by as many as 17 points in the quarter.

Before the fourth quarter explosion by the Lakers’ bench, the game featured back and fourth action in the first half with neither team leading by more than six points. And despite the Clippers shooting the ball well in the first half at 58 percent while the Lakers shot at 42 percent from the field, they only lead 57-55 at the half.

Pau Gasol had scored 11 of first 13 points for the Lakers and J.J. Redick scored 10 of the Clippers first 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting including going 2-of-2 from 3-point range.

There was also some chippy play by the Clippers on two occasions in the first half with two flagrant fouls from DeAndre Jordan, who had 17 points with 11 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Matt Barnes, who had eight points and six rebounds.

The Lakers did not respond to those hard fouls and continued to keep pace with the Clippers until the fourth quarter where they pulled away.

“It happened so fast,” said Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who had 15 points with 11 assists and six rebounds in 35 minutes on the floor. “Those guy started making shots, (Jordan) Farmar was making plays. They got in the bonus, and then it was free throws and Wesley Johnson 3s. They played well. You can’t take anything away from them.”

Gasol was satisfied with the teams effort on the floor and the direction the team’s appears to be head after Tuesday’s performance, but knows that it just the first game of the season and already looking ahead to team’s next  game tomorrow night on the road against the Golden State Warriors.

“I think it’s a great indicate of where we are at and how much we want to have a great year,” Gasol said, who had 15 points with 13 rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes of action. “So we were able to do (it) tonight (against) a really good team. It’s just one game (and) it’s just the beginning, but like I said it’s a good indicator.”

Kobe Bryant as expected did not play in Tuesday’s game as he is still rehabbing his surgically-repaired left Achilles and has yet to put a timetable on when he will return to the court.

 Photo Credit: Lakers.com

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.

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