The LA Clippers continue to make up for their 6-game losing streak, avenging a Christmas Day loss by blowing the Los Angeles Lakers out 113-97. The win gives the Clippers a 6-game winning streak, their second-longest of the season, and they are a season-high 14 games over .500 at 28-14. Order in L.A. has been restored – unless you count the ringz, read the comment section of ClipperBlog, or have a rooting interest in the
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers!
The Clippers host the Lakers today – with the Chargers moving to L.A., should the Clippers support one NFL team more than the other?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) January 14, 2017
A Los Angeles crowd welcomed the Chargers Saturday during the Lakers-Clippers game…
How do you think that went?https://t.co/bqbymIVUNI
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 15, 2017
Top Performer: The Lakers went to San Antonio and let Pau Gasol go 9-for-9 on them. Clippers C DeAndre Jordan started 10-for-10 and finished 12-of-13 from the field for game-highs of 24 points, 21 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. The points were a season-high for Jordan, and it was Jordan’s 2nd 20-20 performance of the season, with the first coming in the OT loss at Brooklyn in November. Jordan had as many rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup, and Jordan passed O.G. Kevin Garnett for 9th-most 20-rebound games since at least 1983-1984. Jordan also tied Elton Brand for most 20-point/20-rebound games in Clippers franchise history with 7.
X-Factor: The Clippers ate the Lakers up inside, outscoring them 56-36 in the paint. The LA Clippers shot 52.2 percent from the field overall, and they tied a season-high with 48 made baskets inside the arc.
Major Moment: The Lakers were as close as 40-30 with 5 minutes left in the 1st half before the Clippers hit them with a second wave. The Clippers closed the half on an 18-9 run, including 8 points on 4 shots by Jordan, and the lead grew as large as 22 points. There would be no 3rd quarter collapse, as the Lakers never got the lead under 10 points in the 2nd half.
Key Lineup: Los Angeles started Lou Williams for the first time all season with SF Luol Deng resting. It didn’t work out at all, as the Lakers starting lineup with Williams was outscored 16-8 in 7 1st half minutes on the floor together, compiling a net rating of -47.1. Lakers coach Luke Walton didn’t even bother starting Williams in the 2nd half or using that lineup at all after halftime. The Clippers used their starting lineup for 20 minutes, but the best lineup they used was the bench unit of PG Raymond Felton, SG Jamal Crawford, SF Wesley Johnson, PF Brandon Bass, and C Marreese Speights. That unit compiled a 46.9 net rating in 6 minutes, the best of LA’s 6 lineups that played at least 3 minutes. That unit made 7-of-11 from the field (63.6 percent) while having 6 assists without a turnover.
The Definition: It’s been two weeks of 2017 so far, and the Clippers haven’t slipped up. Like J.J. Redick said Friday, the team is playing harder, the schedule is easier, and the team is healthier. Indeed, the Clippers are playing the best defense in the league this month, compiling the best defensive efficiency rating and holding opponents to 41 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from three. According to Austin Rivers, the defensive mindset started to change after the loss to the Thunder on New Year’s Eve.
“That plane ride back was the biggest thing,” Rivers. “Everybody was feeling like we’re too good of a team to be playing like this, to be letting teams score that many points. Even the Houston game… I know we were down a lot of players, there were a lot of games in minimal days, but nonetheless our defensive focus wasn’t there. After that road trip, we just thought that we need to be better. We got to keep it that way no matter how many games we win.”