LOS ANGELES — It was deja-vu for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday as they suffered yet another embarrassing blowout at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers in a 142-94 loss.
For the Lakers, the 48-point loss was the worst in a regular season game and largest margin of defeat against the Clippers in franchise history.
“For whatever reason after the first quarter where I thought we played really well, we took a body blow and it looked like it took us to our knees” head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We took it from their second group not their first group and for whatever reason, we couldn’t take shots, we couldn’t finish plays, we couldn’t do anything.
“The air went out big time; they smelled blood in the water and they killed us.”
In the first quarter as it was tightly contested as the Lakers took a seven point lead in part due to a 10-0 run. The Clippers responded with a 15-0 run capped off by a dunk by recently acquired Danny Granger. However the Lakers closed the gap to 29-27 as they scored the quarter’s last five points.
Despite the fact that the Clippers committed 10 turnovers in the opening quarter, they shot 52 percent from the field and received a combined 14 points from Paul and Griffin.
After the opening quarter, the Clippers used another 40-point first half quarter against their opponent to gain commanding control of the game as they outscored the Lakers 43-13 on 63 percent shooting in the second quarter. Darren Collison lead the way for the Clippers as he scored all 14 of his first half points in the quarter.
It was a forgettable second quarter for the Lakers for a number of reasons as they shot 25 percent from the field, were outrebounded 22-5, and outscored the Lakers 19-0 in fast breaks points.
“We just went away from coach D’Antoni’s principles,” Kent Bazemore said, who finished with 14 points and six assists. “We were getting up and down and moving the ball, and everyone was getting touches on the offensive end.
The ball kind of got stagnant, we were taking bad shots, they were getting long rebounds, and it ended up being alley-oops and Blake Griffin taking off from almost the three-point line. That is what they like to do, and they feed off of it.”
In the second half the Clippers extended their lead to as much as 49 points in the third quarter as Collison once again led the team in scoring with 10 points as his team shot 54 percent with 10 assists on 14 made field goals for the quarter.
It was just another offensive showing for an opposing team as the Clippers collected a season and opponent-high 64 rebounds and won the rebounding battle 64-33 for the game.
“I think the long shots, the ball getting stagnant for the most part of the game I think contributed to their rebounding,” Gasol said, who had 21 points and 7 rebounds in the loss. “When you play small lineups against a bigger team you usually lose the rebound battle. Hopefully you make up for it in other areas but tonight wasn’t quite the case.”
The Clippers also had eight players in double-figures that included all five starters scoring at least 13 points as both Blake Griffin (20 pts and 11 rebounds) and Chris Paul (13 points and 11 assists) recorded double-doubles.
The franchise-record loss for Jodie Meeks was frustrating on many levels as he felt the team did not play with the right mindset.
“It’s not fun getting blown out on any level, but especially on national TV and in front of the world,” Meeks said, who had just seven points in the loss. “We have to have more pride that, and I defintely do not think they [Clippers] are 48 points better than us. We just have to have more pride.”
It was a loss that was nothing short of embarrassing, but it was one that Gasol feels the team has to quickly move on from as they play the Denver Nuggets tomorrow in the second game of back-to-backs.
“You have to move on. You cannot focus and dwell in this game, or it will really get you down.” Gasol said. “You just have to move on and understand. We have a tough back-to-back in Denver, so we need a better mindset and energy.”
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP