LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers defensive struggles continued on Friday as the Los Angeles Clippers would avenge a season-opener loss as they used a 43-point first quarter and a 33-point effort by Blake Griffin to coast a record-setting 123-87 win over the Lakers.
The Clippers in the opening quarter shot 71 percent from the field that included a hot start by J.J. Redick, who is in his first game back from a fracture left hand and torn ulnar ligament, scored eight of their first 12 points as the team went 9-of-11 shooting to start the game.
The Lakers would use a 12-2 run capped off by a dunk by Pau Gasol to pull them within one point at 22-21. The Clippers would respond with a 21-2 run to build their lead with Blake Griffin leading the charge as he tied a career-high 18 points in the opening quarter that included several dunks and seven trips to the free throw line.
“(Blake Griffin) has been doing 30-plus point in the last four or five games,” Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “That didn’t beat us. He is going to get his points and again we gave up 37 points off transition. They (just) jumped on us in the third quarter and the first quarter and you just got to give them credit.”
It was not only an offensive display for the Clippers in the first quarter as they held the Lakers to just 43 percent shooting and forced them to commit nine turnovers.
The Lakers would cut the margin to 13 points midway through the second quarter, but the Clippers would respond once again as they pushed the lead to as much as 19 points with Darren Collison scoring 10 of his 16 first-half point that included a pair of 3-pointers and would lead 70-52 at the half.
It would be a season worst quarter for the Lakers offensive as they would have a season-low eight points in a quarter on 2-of-20 shooting (10 percent) and were outscored for the quarter 31-8 run that included 13 points by Griffin that increased the lead to 41 points.
“I don’t know if we were tired when we came out (of halftime), not ready to roll or the other team (was) probably talking ‘let’s knock them out of the box at the beginning of the third quarter,'” D’Antoni said. “It was just a little bit of a combo of them good and us bad.”
For Kendall Marshall it was a game that nothing good could be taken awy from their largest margin of defeat this season.
“I don’t think there is one positive thing we can take from this game,” Marshall said, who had his second career double-double with 16 points and 10 assists. “We were competitive for maybe five minutes. We just can’t have that. It has nothing to do with talent. It has nothing to do with whose injured.
“We just have to go out there and compete. There is no team in this league that’s 40 or 50 points better than anybody else. So that is on us we have to go out there and just compete.”
The Clippers would stretch the their lead to a game-high 43 points after a 3-pointer by Willie Green midway through the fourth quarter.
The Clippers would also receive standout games from DeAndre Jordan with a near triple-double effort with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks, and Collison with 2o points, seven assists and five rebounds.
“It’s frustrating, especially for a game like tonight,” Nick Young said, who had 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting in 32 minutes played. “Everybody is supposed to get up for a game like this. This game is supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to enjoy it. But to lose like that, that’s embarrassing. We shouldn’t lose by 40 to nobody, especially at home to a team like the Clippers. That makes it worst.
Gasol echoed the same sentiment after the team’s 10th loss in the last 11 games.
“The first nine minutes were OK,” Gasol said. “The next 39 were long and hard and frustrating, and just difficult to suffer. We didn’t play well enough . We played right into their hands, turned the ball over too many times. They’re the team that gets out in transition and they’re very effective that way.”
The Lakers will have the weekend off with their next game not until Tuesday at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Another injury to a Lakers’ guard on Friday as Marshall would roll his left ankle on a tip attempt of a missed shot by Johnson in the third quarter. He would stay in the game and finish with a double-double with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting with 10 assists in 40 minutes played.
“I just tried to tip the ball in and I came down on Collison’s foot,” Marshall said. “It was completely on accident and it was something that didn’t affect me. It wasn’t anything that was harping. If I felt that I was hurting the team then I would of sat down. I was perfectly fine.”
The loss of Marshall would of have been disastrous for the Lakers as the team would be without a true baller handling guard with Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar, Kobe Bryant and Xavier Henry already all out with injuries.
Nonetheless with that scare injury scare on Friday, the Lakers may look to add another guard as an insurance policy if Marshall were to get injured.
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports