L.A. Clippers Rout L.A. Lakers, 125-101: Post-Game Grades, Analysis
With a 125-101 victory over the Lakers, the Clippers proved once again to be the kings of STAPLES Center this season.
The L.A. Lakers started the game slower than the Carnival Triumph's tow-boat, allowing Blake Griffin to outscore their entire team in the first quarter, 18 to a measly 17 points.
After a slow start, Antawn Jamison came in for the Lakers and led a mini comeback, only to be thwarted once Chris Paul and the starting crew for the Clippers returned to the court.
For the Lakers, it was a lack of effort, committing 16 turnovers and failing to keep the Clippers off the offensive boards.
Kobe Bryant led the way with 20 points, 11 assists and five rebounds, but as he walked to the bench with a few minutes left in the fourth it was clear that he was none too happy with the collective performance from the Lake Show.
Led by 67 points on 66.7 percent shooting from the floor from Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Blake Griffin, the Clippers seemed unstoppable at certain points throughout the night.
It's a story of two teams heading in very different directions. At least, for the Lakers, the All-Star break might give them a chance to regroup.
Chris Paul, LAC
Chris Paul legitimately dominated Steve Nash throughout the entire 33 minutes he was on the court.
He ended his night with 24 points and 13 assists, and he shot 57.1 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc.
It was amazing watching Paul back Nash down time and time again, and hit fade-away shots with ease over the cagey veteran.
It's clear that Paul is back at 100 percent health because he's playing at an MVP rate and he's at the foundation of the Clippers recent dominance.
Defensively speaking Paul was a force to be reckoned with. He was badgering Nash the whole game and his coverage of the Lakers' failed attempts at pick-and-roll offensive sets wasimpressive to say the least.
With Paul playing at this level, the Clippers are going to be tough to compete with in the Western Conference.
Overall Grade: A
Steve Nash, LAL
With just seven points and five assists, on 0-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and 33.3 percent shooting from the field, Nash had one of the worst performances of his 2012-13 campaign.
The Lakers needed some consistency at the point, facilitating the offense, and instead of Nash getting the job done there, the weight of that responsibility fell on the shoulders of Kobe Bryant.
When he was defending Chris Paul, Nash looked overpowered and overwhelmed throughout the evening.
Paul drew two early fouls on Nash, which really hurt Nash's ability to tenaciously defend anyone on the court.
Maybe it was a pre All-Star break lull, but whatever was going on with Nash needs to not carry itself over into the "second half" of the season.
Overall Grade: C-
Overall Grade: D+
Chauncey Billups, LAC
Welcome back to dominance Chauncey.
Phew, Billups had quite a game with 21 points on 70 percent shooting from the floor and 71.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
He also accounted for three assists and four steals, in what was a rather complete effort from the veteran guard.
Without Billups' opportunistic and efficient shooting, the Clippers wouldn't have blown this one out the water as quickly as they did.
With the dynamic duo of Chris Paul and Billups, the Clippers are going to be a very, very difficult team to compete with. Welcome back Chauncey, welcome back.
Overall Grade: A-
Kobe Bryant, LAL
When you look at Kobe Bryant's stat line of 20 points, 11 assists and five rebounds on 53.8 percent shooting, you'd think he had a great night.
In reality though, his 20 points and 11 assists were rather pedestrian.
Not only did he turn the ball over six times, he also wasn't the leader that the Lakers desperately needed.
There were numerous times when Kobe was caught looking annoyed and frustrated at teammates instead of trying to pick them up, and that's not what the Black Mamba needs to be doing.
The Lakers were -35 with Kobe on the court. To put that into perspective, the Clippers were +35 with Chris Paul on the court. That's all you should need to know on that.
Either way, Kobe was still facilitating the offense and putting up efficient production much more than anyone else in a Lakers jersey. It wasn't a great night by Kobe, but it wasn't terrible either.
It has to be frustrating for Kobe, knowing that the effort just isn't there from everyone on his team.
Overall Grade: B-
Caron Butler, LAC
Compared to every other Clipper in the starting lineup, Caron Butler's performance was rather "meh."
He ended the night with 13 points on 36.3 percent shooting, and he quietly grabbed eight rebounds.
It wasn't anything spectacular, but what Butler did was defer to teammates like Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Blake Griffin when they were knocking down shot after shot.
Defensively speaking Butler was his typical aggressive, annoying and tenacious self. His aggressive defense on Kobe to start the game was a major reason why the Clippers were able to start off so hot.
Overall Grade: B-
Metta World Peace, LAL
The entire Lakers team wasn't playing well against the Clippers, but Metta World Peace wasn't himself, especially defensively.
He's typically a physical force on defense, but against the Clippers, and specifically Blake Griffin early on, World Peace got overpowered more times than not.
World Peace also didn't really find his range at all during the game. While he ended with 11 points he did so on just 4-of-9 shooting from the floor and even worse, just 30 percent from beyond the arc.
After a questionable technical in the second quarter, World Peace did keep his cool, so he's got to at least get some credit for that.
If the Lakers are going to come out of the All-Star break firing on all cylinders though, they'll need World Peace to be more efficient on offense and more tenacious on defense.
Overall Grade: C-
Blake Griffin, LAC
It looked like Blake Griffin was playing against middle school kids in the first quarter. He ended the first 12 minutes of action with 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field.
Not only did Griffin dominate the first quarter on an individual level, he actually outscored the entire Lakers' team, who had just 17 first-quarter points. Yep, that's basically the definition of dominance.
Shockingly enough, Griffin scored just four points in the following three quarters. He ended the night with 22 points on 73.3 shooting though, and more importantly, he pestered Dwight Howard in the paint all night long.
Griffin was there when the Clippers needed him, especially in the first few minutes of the game, and his dominance led to a big-time Clippers victory.
His alley-oop from Chris Paul where it seemed like he air born for about 15 seconds, wasn't half bad either.
Overall Grade: B+
Earl Clark, LAL
For a player who's supposed to be the energetic force fort he Lakers, Earl Clark certainly failed to deliver.
You could argue that he played with too much energy, which left him out of place and overpowering shots on offense. No matter how you look at it, Clark had a very rough night.
Not only did he have a poor shooting performance with just four points on 20 percent shooting, he also didn't bring much to the court on the defensive side of the ball.
Clark had one nice put-back slam, but other than that he was nowhere to be found, and while he grabbed six rebounds, they were really rather meaningless.
I know Mike D'Antoni likes having Antawn Jamison come off the bench, but if Clark plays like this a few more times, he'll have to highly consider inserting Jamison into the starting lineup instead of Clark.
Overall Grade: D-
DeAndre Jordan, LAC
For everything that Dwight Howard wasn't for the Lakers, DeAndre Jordan was for the Clippers.
He consistently attacked the boards on both sides of the ball, and he played physical and intelligent on the defensive side of the ball.
It's clear that Jordan is continuing to grow and mature as the season moves on, and it's because he's learning how to fit into the Vinny Del Negro's system.
Offensively speaking, Jordan wasn't half bad. Not only did he score 11 points on 50 percent shooting. He also grabbed five offensive boards.
Ultimately, Jordan did what he needed to in terms of pounding the glass and impacting the Lakers' offense in the paint.
Overall Grade: B
Dwight Howard, LAL
I can't decide which was worse, Dwight Howard's white long johns or his actual performance on the court.
While he shot 70 percent from the field and dropped 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Howard wasn't commanding the ball in the paint or dominating any aspect of this matchup.
For most of the game Howard looked out of sync, and worst of all he wasn't playing with a sense of urgency. He looked like he couldn't have cared less about the outcome of this one.
While some may chalk that up to the health of his back and/or right shoulder, the real issue is that it looks like Howard just doesn't want to be a member of the Lakers.
The worst part of Howard's performance was his lackadaisical effort on the defensive side of the ball. He was constantly late on rotations and only had his hands up on defense when the plays were over and he was looking to blame someone.
The Lakers can't compete in the Western Conference without Howard at full health, but more importantly they can't contend if he's not putting his best foot forward every night.
It was clear that Howard's best was at home on the couch against the Clippers because he wasn't his aggressive and dominant self.
Overall Grade: C+
Jamal Crawford, LAC
Efficiency clearly wasn't on Jamal Crawford's mind against the Lake Show.
Ending the night with eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, Crawford wasn't his usual explosive, dominant self. Fortunately for the Clippers, everyone else was getting the job done so they could afford an off night from Crawford.
Overall Grade: C-
Antawn Jamison, LAL
Without Antawn Jamison's energy and production coming off the bench in the second quarter, this one could've gotten out of hand a lot sooner than it did.
Just when the Lakers looked down for the count, after Blake Griffin outscored them in the first quarter, Jamison came off the bench and injected some life into the Lakers' faithful at STAPLES Center.
Jamison helped the Lakers cut into the Clippers' 16-point second quarter lead to just four points at one point. Unfortunately though, he wasn't getting much support from anyone else wearing a Lakers jersey.
He did all he could to keep the Lakers in this one, finishing with 17 points in 27 minutes, but ultimately the Clippers were just too much. If Jamison continues playing at this rate, it'll be hard for Mike D'Antoni to resists inserting him into the starting lineup.
Overall Grade: B+
The Clippers' second unit wasn't terrible, but they weren't that great either.
In the second quarter the bench crew nearly let the Lakers back into the game by letting them cut a 16-point lead to just four points at one time.
Matt Barnes dropped 11 points (4-11), and Jamal Crawford added eight (3-11), but aside from those two players the Clippers didn't get much production from anyone else.
Shockingly enough, Eric Bledsoe only saw 16 minutes of action. I guess that's what happens though when Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are playing lights out.
Overall Grade: B-
The Lakers really couldn't have asked more out of their bench players against the Clippers.
When you don't count the scrub time that Darius Morris and Robert Sacre, the Lakers' second unit accounted for 37 points.
Led by Jamison's solid first-half performance, the Lakers' bench was holding it down for a team struggling to find production from someone not named Kobe Bryant.
Unfortunately, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison couldn't provide quite enough. More than most of the rest of the Lakers roster though, they at least did their part.
Overall Grade: B+