Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
MVP: The gift of an aggressive Chris Paul is a welcome one, and tonight, he lead all Clippers in scoring with 23 points on 11-19 shooting, also adding 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
That was … a much-needed rebounding advantage: The Clippers have now moved up to 3-1 when they outrebound the opponent. In a slow-paced game where they only went to the free throw line 11 times, winning the rebounding battle was integral to the victory, and the backcourt would surprise by pulling down a third of the total rebounds the Clippers grabbed tonight.
X factor: While the fourth quarter was not a memorable one for the home team, Wesley Johnson would prove vital to curbing the Lakers rally. The backup Small Forward would score 5 of the 9 points the Clippers scored in the frame, and his three-pointer at 3:34 in the game would push the Clippers lead back to double digits.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
It's been a long year for the Lakers… https://t.co/Ej7RNDW9Qw
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) December 26, 2015
Wesley Johnson shushed the crowd after his last 3. REVENGE GAME!
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 26, 2015
The Clippers have won a franchise-record 8-straight games against the Lakers.
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) December 26, 2015
Check Your Messages
It’s a Wonderful Life
In honor of the holiday film that sees a man imagine what the world would be like without him in it, let’s imagine a world where a few things went differently for the Clippers.
However, rather than play the cliché “what if the Chris Paul trade to the Clippers hadn’t been vetoed” game, let’s all wonder for a bit if tonight was one Kobe Bean Bryant’s last Christmas game – in a Clippers jersey.
Many forget that this almost happened in the season immediately following Shaquille O’Neal’s departure from Los Angeles in the first of Bryant’s many seasons of discontent. Agitating for a change of direction for his beleaguered franchise, The Black Mamba almost made the jump across the hall to lace up his Adidas for the other one in Tinseltown.
Oh, what fun might have been had by all! Perchance the duel that took place tonight between these crosstown rivals might have featured a Blake Griffin in white and purple, or Chris Paul alongside the aging Bryant. Maybe former rivals Bryant and Paul Pierce would be riding into their last yuletide battle together.
The truth is, I think most Clippers fans are just fine with the way things panned out – as are Lakers fans. All things considered, it’s not so bad to be flying the Ship Gang flag, even if L.A. is still “a Lakers town.” The Clippers came away with a win ( if not in the most desirable fashion), and hopefully will be looking at a chance to finally start carving their own legacy soon enough.
– Aaron Williams
The Clippers Lost Tonight
Yeah, so a win is a win. They all count the same in the record columns. But this was like kissing your sister.
It’s also an uninspiring way to begin the 2nd 5-game road trip of the season. And yes, Lakers games at Staples Center count as a road game. Trust me – I was there tonight, and that crowd was all about the Kobe Christmas sendoff and the Silver (Screen & Roll) Linings that came with the Lakers only losing by 10 after being down 28.
The Clippers scored only 9 4th quarter points; the last time the Clippers won a game with only 9 4th quarter points was way back on January 28, 2007, at Seattle. You’d be shocked to know that those 06-07 Clippers finished 40-42, 2 games behind the 8th-seed Warriors.
I wouldn’t want to be on that flight to Utah tonight. The Clippers already have more losses on the 2nd nights of back-to-backs this season (2-5 record) than all of last season (NBA best 16-4 record), and these sorry performances late in just about every single game is a major contributing factor.
– Law Murray
Picking Up After Others
On paper, the Clippers are 15-4 when leading after three quarters. At the same time, the Clippers also rank as the 5th worst team in opponent points scored in the fourth quarter. Considering those four losses are at the hands of the teams directly ahead of them in the standings, it becomes immediately worrisome when thinking in terms of the Clippers’ chances of beating the better teams in the Western Conference.
To watch the starters struggle when getting a fourth quarter call that was either unexpected or earlier than expected brings about thoughts of watching younger siblings make a mess, only for mom and dad to come home and hand you, the older sibling, the responsibilities of cleaning up after them.
It’s deflating. It’s unnerving. Worst of all, it’s incredibly hard to find any motivation to do so, even when one knows it has to be done.
– Brandon Tomyoy