Blake Griffin scored 33 points, Darren Collison added 20 and the Los Angeles Clippers scored 43 points in the first quarter and never looked back, thrashing the rival Los Angeles Lakers, 123-87, on Friday night.
This thing was never close.
After some thunderous first-quarter dunks from Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Lakers were clearly demoralized, and who could blame them? They have now lost 10 of their 11 games, after a surprisingly competent start in the tough Western Conference.
Lakers haven't lost 10 of 11 since April 2005. That was the Rudy T year. And the last time they missed playoffs.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 11, 2014
At least head coach Mike D'Antoni has kept his sense of humor through all of this.
Mike D'Antoni on what he said to team post game: "Hang your head....err I mean keep your head up."— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 11, 2014
The Lakers shot a paltry 34.5 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 21 times, leading to 37 Clippers points.
The Clippers shot the rock at a 48.9 percent clip and totaled 16 steals and 13 blocks.
The Clips have now won three straight games without the injured Chris Paul.
Key Player Grades
Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol, Power Forward
You had to feel sorry for Pau Gasol watching him in this one.
Gasol struggled mightily against the Clippers' athletic frontcourt, going 5-for-15 and not getting to the free-throw line once.
He had his shots either blocked or altered constantly, and he also had the ball stripped from him a couple of times down low.
Gasol was never able to get comfortable in the paint, and if there was ever a time where you could really say that he looks well past his prime, it was Friday night.
Pau finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes. The overall numbers aren't bad, but you really had to watch this one to see just how much the Spaniard really labored.
Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard
Jodie Meeks had a miserable shooting night, going 2-for-10 and missing both of his three-point attempts. He made up for it a bit by going 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, but that didn't atone for his five turnovers and zero assists in 32 minutes.
Meeks ended up with 11 points and three rebounds.
There wasn't much good on the Lakers in this one, but wow, Meeks was truly terrible.
Wesley Johnson, Small Forward
Wesley Johnson got off to a hot start in this one, scoring 14 points off 5-of-5 shooting in the first half.
Unfortunately for Johnson, that was all he would do for the rest of the night, as the Syracuse product proceeded to go 0-for-6 over the final two quarters.
The normally versatile Johnson also had limited impact elsewhere, logging only one rebound and failing to record an assist, steal or block.
Kendall Marshall, Point Guard
Kendall Marshall was the lone bright spot for the Lakers in this embarrassing display. It's not like he had a choice, though, as he is the only point guard D'Antoni has at the moment.
Gilbert Arenas is here courtside. Will he back up Kendall Marshall in the second half?— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 11, 2014
The young floor general posted 16 points and 10 assists, shooting an efficient 6-of-11 from the field. He also buried three of his four long-distance tries.
If anything, perhaps the Lakers have found a diamond in the rough in Marshall, someone who could possibly be a part of the team long-term.
It's still very early to say for sure, but there is no doubt that Marshall has been demonstrating the talent that many thought he had when the Phoenix Suns made him a lottery pick in 2012.
Robert Sacre, Center
Well, Robert Sacre had the best plus-minus of any Lakers starter (minus-12), so that's something. Then again, he only played in 18 minutes, so it's kind of silly to cite that, huh?
Sacre was actually decent in this one, though, going 5-for-8 for 14 points. Of course, most of that came in garbage time, but he also had a nice pump fake on Griffin, getting Blake in the air and opening himself up for an easy layup.
The big man also grabbed seven rebounds while committing only two fouls.
Nick Young, Sixth Man
Nick Young's performance was flat-out ugly against the Clippers.
The Lakers leading scorer went 3-of-14 from the floor, misfiring on all five of his long-range attempts. He ended up with eight points and did not record a single assist in 31 minutes.
Young's biggest contribution was his seven rebounds.
Nick Young: "They just killed us"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 11, 2014
So, yeah. This was a night to forget for Young as much as it was a night to forget for the entire Lakers team.
Chris Kaman put up six points off a 2-for-6 clip, hauling in six boards in 19 minutes of action. He also committed four turnovers and, depending on what your opinion of a "poster dunk" is, may or may not have been posterized by Griffin.
Ryan Kelly went 1-for-6 for five points.
Jordan Hill went 0-for-3.
Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin, Power Forward
To say that Griffin was sensational on Friday night would be a disservice to just how good Griffin was.
The explosive big man went off for 18 of his 33 points in the first quarter, including a couple of monster dunks. Then, he put on a show for the rest of the contest.
He hit jumpers, he flashed outstanding ball-handling skills to get to the basket, he drew fouls and he made some magnificent passes in transition and in the halfcourt set.
Griffin shot 12-of-15 from the floor, 9-of-11 from the free-throw line, hauled in 12 rebounds, dished out four assists and racked up four steals all in just 30 minutes. Oh, and he was a plus-45.
But all he can do is dunk, right?
J.J. Redick, Shooting Guard
After missing the last 22 games with a wrist injury, you would think that J.J. Redick would be a little rusty upon his return, right?
Redick lit it up in the win, going 8-of-15 from the field en route to 19 points in 23 minutes. The best part about Redick's performance was that he only hit one triple, meaning he was obviously doing it from all over the floor.
Redick adds such a great dynamic to this lineup offensively, and let's not forget that he is a pretty underrated defender.
DeAndre Jordan, Center
Along with Griffin, DeAndre Jordan wreaked havoc in the frontcourt into the wee hours of Saturday morning.
The defensive-minded big man swatted seven shots and made life miserable for Gasol down low, also making it nearly impossible for the Lakers to get any kind of dribble penetration.
To go along with his Herculean defensive effort, Jordan scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Bill Russell? Not quite, but this dude is still pretty darn good.
Jared Dudley, Small Forward
Jared Dudley was quiet in his 24 minutes of action.
The wing recorded five points off 2-of-4 shooting, adding two rebounds, two assists and two steals. He also had the worst plus-minus of any of the Clippers starters, posting a plus-19 (not that that's bad or anything, but it's still worth noting).
Dudley wasn't inefficient or anything, though, so he earns points for that.
Darren Collison, Point Guard
Remember how well Darren Collison played during his rookie season in New Orleans when Chris Paul got hurt?
Well, Friday night's contest was kind of like deja vu for him in that regard.
Collison was outstanding in this one, dropping 20 points off 9-of-12 shooting and handing out seven dimes, completely taking advantage of the slow-footed Marshall. Collison utilized his blinding speed to control the offense, setting up his teammates and looking for his own shots in the process.
He threw in five boards for good measure.
Jamal Crawford, Sixth Man
On a night when the Clippers were nearly flawless as a collective unit, Jamal Crawford certainly wasn't.
The high-octane sixth man went only 3-for-13 for 11 points in 25 minutes. He did accumulate six rebounds, so that's nice, but the inefficient shooting clip severely hurts his overall grade.
Plus, Crawford was only a plus-8, despite the fact that the Clips won by such an overwhelming margin.
Matt Barnes was probably the biggest contributor other than Crawford, tallying seven points and six boards. Of course, he shot 2-for-8, so he wasn't exactly efficient.
Ryan Hollins had a solid outing, recording five points, five rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes.
Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens, Maalik Wayns, Darius Morris and Willie Green combined for 12 points.
What's Next for the Lakers?
The Lakers get a fairly winnable game at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night before embarking on a seven-game road trip. Outside of the contest at Miami to play the Heat, there are no particularly tough teams on the schedule, but let's be honest: The Lakers aren't exactly a tough team themselves.
At least they can look forward to the potential return of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash at the end of the month. Of course, at this point, such a thing may actually be bad for the Lakers, a ballclub that would probably be better off losing as many games as possible the rest of the way to assure themselves of a good draft pick.
What's Next for the Clippers?
The Staples Center is going to be bereft of basketball starting at the end of next week.
Other than the Pacers game, the road schedule is fairly light, featuring contests against below .500 Eastern Conference teams.
Maybe the Clips can make a move in the standings here even without Paul.