Kobe Bryant, right, reacts to the Lakers poor performance against the Clippers Friday night. (Twitter)
Kobe Bryant’s face during the game said it all. After the game, James Worthy called it disgusting and a debacle, and the rest of Lakers Nation was stunned into silence.
The “Battle of LA” quickly turned into a slaughter, as the Lakers were outscored 43-25 in the first quarter. The Clippers outplayed, outhustled and simply embarrassed the Lakers, defeating them 123-87.
“They just jumped all over us,” said Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni. “At foot speed we couldn’t keep up with them.”
The Lakers have lost 10 of their last 11 games for the first time since April 2005, which was the same year/last time they missed the playoffs. L.A.’s 36-point loss is the worst suffered since 2007, and is the Clippers biggest win in series history.
“We shouldn’t lose by 40 to nobody especially at home against a team like the Clippers…to lose by 40 tonight it’s a bad sign,” said Nick Young.
The only silver lining was that the Lakers went on a 6-0 run to end the game, which prevented this game from being the Clippers’ biggest victory margin ever.
“It was like no fight,” said Wesley Johnson, “They just sucked the air out of us.”
No fight is right. The Lakers gave up easy points including 37 points off of 21 turnovers. Despite having key players sidelined, injuries can’t excuse the performance the Lakers put forward tonight.
Once again the third quarter continues to be kryptonite for the Lakers. In the third, the Lakers made two field goals, which ties a franchise low in a quarter. The Lakers were also outscored 31-8 in the third.
“I don’t think there was one positive thing we can take from that game,” said Kendall Marshall. “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 who’s injured.”
The Clippers beat the Lakers in every category except in turnovers and personal fouls. They racked up 16 steals and 13 blocks (seven from DeAndre Jordan). Blake Griffin lead all scorers with 33 points in a performance where every Clipper on the roster scored.
“It’s frustrating,” said Jodie Meeks, “Nobody likes to lose, especially getting embarrassed. Just the way we we’re losing is embarrassing.”
The “Battle of LA” wasn’t a repeat performance from what Laker fans saw opening night. In fact, Clipper fans laughed as Laker fans were shown heading for the exits on the jumbotron with six minutes left in the game.
“We can say we got to play hard, [but] we got to go out there and do it,” said Young, “We can talk it, but we really just got to go out there and play.”
The Lakers clearly didn’t play tonight, and Bryant hung his head low as the Lakers dropped to 14-23 on the season. Playoff hopes seem to be slipping further away as they hold the third worst record in the West, and have four teams ahead of them hunting for the 8th seed.
Ironically, if the Lakers were in the Eastern Conference they would only be one game back from being tied with the Charlotte Bobcats for the 8th seed.
The Lakers, however, are in the West and gasping for air.
Although Marshall stopped the bleeding for the Lakers momentarily, the Lakers need a lot of help. Even though Shawne Williams wouldn’t have saved the Lakers tonight, the purple and gold need bodies before every player begins to run on fumes.
Fortunately, help may be on the way. Xavier Henry will be reevaluated and could be back as soon as next week, while Bryant and Steve Nash will be reevaluated on January 28.