Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul is an All-Star for the 9th time, and he showed why tonight. Paul scored a game-high 27 points on a night where the other four starters combined for 22 points, and he did it efficiently, making 11-of-18 field goals. Paul also had a game-high seven assists, with only two turnovers.
That was … not a letdown: The Clippers came home against the Lakers after five straight games east of the Mississippi River. The Lakers actually led after the first quarter, and the Lakers went on a 10-0 run in the 3rd quarter to take a 63-59 lead. But the Clippers responded immediately with a 13-0 run, and they never trailed again, beating the Lakers for the 9th straight time. The Lakers are now 9-40, the worst 49-game start by the Lakers or Clippers since Staples Center opened in 1999.
X factor: Lance Stephenson is Born Ready, and Julius Randle (who had a career-high 23 points tonight) wasn’t ready when Stephenson yammed on him all crazy. Paul Pierce’s absence tonight opened up 20+ minutes for Stephenson for the first time since January 2, vs. Philadelphia. Stephenson responded with 16 points on seven shots and five rebounds, and the Clippers bench outscored the Lakers bench 56-25.
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— Isaac Lowenkron (@isaaclowenkron) January 30, 2016
Wes Johnson – REVENGE GAME
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 30, 2016
Goodbye Josh Smith. Hello Austin Rivers. pic.twitter.com/MyVqjU4Qsy
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 30, 2016
— NBA (@NBA) January 30, 2016
That windmill tho. 🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/SvwU2nwJxQ
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 30, 2016
Check Your Messages
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em
Almost from the moment he stepped on the floor, ex-Laker Wesley Johnson seemed to be on a mission: to prove to his former team that they made a critical error in letting him walk away in free agency last summer. He did his darndest to fill up the stat sheet, turning in nine points, two rebounds, two steals, a block, and an assist in his 25 minutes on the floor for the Clippers in only his fifth start of the season.
Which suggests the question: with the Lakers in a tailspin, are there any other players the Clippers should consider poachi– err, extending an offer to with the trade deadline looming? After all, there are probably at least a few Lakers itching to (ahem) jump ship for the chance to win, or at least not lose so much.
Of course, names like Randle, Clarkson, and Russell are off the table. If anything, their skill sets overlap with players the Clippers already have. Nick Young was a Clipper once, but it seems Jamal Crawford took his matchup with Swaggy P pretty seriously, roasting him over and over as if proving a point, “I still got it, youngblood.” Nance, Brown, and Bass were all in negative numbers in plus/minus for the game, and don’t really fill any gaps for the Clippers. In other words, it seems like the Lakers are stuck with each other for the time being. But make no mistake, any (or all) of them wouldn’t happily join any team that would take them.
– Aaron Williams
Lance Stephenson appearances are like the white-colored Air Heads candy that comes in the 6-pack: you think you know what flavor it is you’re getting but after a few guesses you give up and just consume what’s there. Sometimes, it’s a treat. Other times, it’s a head-scratcher.
And on nights like tonight? Sheer bliss.
The whole play seemed as if it happened in slow motion, watching as Stephenson gradually got closer to the rim. He leapt, and as the layup seemed forthcoming, instead, Lance continued to elevate ever so slowly, floating right over a Julius Randle block attempt that had either misjudged the shot being attempted or that couldn’t have imagined that the player now hovering over him was still in the air. At a strong, stocky 6′ 5″, Stephenson’s build doesn’t scream of the type that has pogo sticks for legs, so when he finally reached the crux of his jump, it made the dunk look all the more aggressive as not only the ball torpedoed through the rim, but the rim itself looked like it was coming down with the Brooklyn product.
Perhaps no expression comes as close to DeAndre Jordan’s, and there must be some that envy the front-row seat that he had to bear witness to that act of violence. Even as one that has lived to tell of Mozgov and Perkins, not to mention the felling of the Knights and Monroes of the world at his own hands, he couldn’t help himself but flailing his arms in the air while leaping down the court in jubilation.
But it also speaks to the hopes of what this team imagined; even if the heights aren’t commonly or consistently reached when Lance is on the floor, the dividends paid when he reaches them are satisfyingly sweet.
– Brandon Tomyoy