Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Lessons Learned from Victory over L.A. Clippers
The win comes after being beaten by L.A.'s other team twice in the preseason and once earlier this season where the Clippers handled the Lakers, 102-94, without star point guard Chris Paul to bring the ball up.
Some major changes happened since the matchup nearly two weeks ago.
Although the win will still only count as one W in the win column for the Lakers, the NBA and its fans learned some important things from the battle.
Derek Fisher Is Still a Factor at Point Guard
The Lakers' ageless point guard Derek Fisher put up double-digit points for the second time in three games. First, Fisher scored 12 points at Orlando in a losing effort and then added 11 to the Lakers' total last night against the Clippers.
This only shows that Fisher still has the ability to show up for the big games and make his mark on the outcome of those games.
The 37-year-old is only averaging just over five points a game this year, but the fact that he can put up his better numbers against the better opponents is a good omen for the Lakers and their fan base.
Sure, Fisher did this against an ailing Chris Paul, but he was also able to snag two boards and shoot 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
If Fisher can figure out how to keep himself in the game against lesser opponents, his numbers will rise along with the trust of the L.A. fans.
Although the former Lakers' starter has struggled with coming off the bench so far this season, the display he put on Wednesday against the Clippers was just a glimpse of the possibilities that Mike Brown was hoping for coming into the season.
Having a player like Metta World Peace coming off the bench and energizing a, for the most part, zombie-like Laker offense that Mike Brown has seen so far this year is going to play a huge part in the Lakers' success this year.
World Peace's three points off the bench weren't the highlight of his numbers, but the five rebounds, seven assists and two steals were huge in the Lakers' win.
Not to forget his clutch, clean block of a Chris Paul lay-up in the fourth that sent the point guard flying to the ground as if World Peace had tackled him (we'll save the Clippers' acting skills for another discussion).
Hopefully for Lakers' fans, this World Peace is here to stay since we have seen signs of his potential only to be disappointed with a lack of energy in the games after.
If World Peace is for real this time, the Lakers will benefit from his energy and minutes while the starters rest in the ever-important middle minutes of their games.
Kobe Doesn't Need to Drop 40 Every Game
The Lakers have seen an offensive clinic put on by star Kobe Bryant up to this point in the season, but it hasn't always been beneficial to Kobe and Co.
After scoring 24 against the Clippers, it's evident that the Lakers don't need him putting up 40 points a game.
After all, Kobe only had 12 points in the first three quarters Wednesday night, and the Lake Show was doing just fine. Although it took a 12-point fourth quarter from Bryant to finish the Clippers off, that's exactly what the Lakers need for success in the latter games of the season.
If the Lakers' supporting cast, especially their big men, can keep the Lakers in the game without exerting too much of the injured Bryant's energy, it'll only be a matter of time before Bryant steps his game into overdrive when it counts most.
Pau Gasol Is Ready for the Ball
Days after demanding the ball more on offensive sets, Lakers' forward Pau Gasol showed why he's ready for the extra looks.
The Spaniard has had a solid year so far with nearly 16 points, nine rebounds and a block per game, but Gasol stepped it up to another level with his 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists against a worthy defender in Blake Griffin.
The fire Gasol had inside him in order to prove a point to all L.A. fans that the Clippers can't take over the City of Angels easily is exactly what the Lakers want him to bring heading into every matchup.
If the 10-year veteran can keep his desire to put more points up, it will clear more space for center Andrew Bynum to do work on his side as well.
A beast mode Gasol is a long way from Pau "Ga-soft," and the rest of the NBA should be on the look out.
The Lakers Don't Like All the 'Lob City' Talk
The Lakers' Matt Barnes had already voiced his opinion about the Clippers' bench after what he believed to be excessive celebration by L.A.'s other team.
The matchup Wednesday further showed that the rest of the Lakers got tired of losing to the Clippers and brought a playoff mentality into last night's game.
Hard fouls, an ejected Josh McRoberts, and some post-game trash talk later, it is evident that the two tenants of the Staples Center have some bad blood between them.
This game showed that the Lakers have what it takes to be the enforcer through all four quarters and have the high-energy game play to beat a top NBA contender.
But, in the end, the season is still young. Once playoff time comes around, we'll all have better insight on what exactly both teams have on the court. Until then, the loss and the gold-and-purple draped rafters should be enough to keep Clipper Nation quiet.