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Clippers Thoroughly Embarrass Lakers

There were moments in the 1st Quarter when it appeared that The Lakers were up to the challenge of playing a game of unlimited scoring, but somewhere along the way The Clippers played enough defense to continually stretch the lead out to an unrecoverable margin. It’s not like The Lakers’ players ever stopped trying to compete, they just couldn’t – even though The Clippers’ lackluster bench players reminded me of the comments made by everybody about the limited value of The Lakers’ bench players last year.

This year, The Lakers bench players began the season playing great! The problem is, the bench players are the starters now! Except for Pau Gasol, every other player starting these days is previously a non-starter: on any other team, in any other year. Nick Young has tried to be a starter, but he is that Robert Horry type guy who is just better off the bench for some reason. And please don’t expect him to play Point Guard! Otherwise, I love Nick Young’s game! Pau Gasol is actually having a great season. I felt like this team would be going places once Kobe Bryant made his return – didn’t everybody else? Or, is that only true of the most loyal Lakers fans?

There were some bad games in the NBA last night: the Pacers defense rendering the Wizards powerless to do anything(93-66), and the defending champions (Miami) have now lost on back-to-back night’s to both of the beleaguered New York teams.

Oh yeah, in Los Angeles: Clippers 123, Lakers 87 (Recap). Isn’t that Wizards loss worse than the Lakers loss? Maybe not.

I couldn’t write about the game, or tweet during the game last night, because it was so… demoralizing. But I watched it, like swallowing a bitter pill that you know will make you feel better with time. The takeaways are: The Clippers are going nowhere, and The Lakers will once again be better than them in short order; The Lakers bench players are getting great exposure to playing more minutes, and they will be better for it once the starters return; and, if Mike D’Antoni knows little about defense, and The Lakers brought in Kurt Rambis to assist with the teaching of more fundamental principles to shore up defensive breakdowns, he may not be our next Lakers head coach – and, by the way, Stu Lantz could probably be used more effectively by the team if allowed to show up at team practices (since he runs a big man’s camp, according to TV conversations heard during the game – but, announcers aren’t allowed at team practices for some dumb reason, right?).

Is Kendall Marshall a good Point Guard? Is he just unfamiliar with his teammates, with the playbook? That seemed to be the excuse widely given for The Lakers lack of success last year: new coach, no time to learn new system, injuries to key players, defensive lapses… It seemed like teamwork, camaraderie, passion to play well (this year) vs. desire to pad stats (last year) would potentially carry this grouping of guys to a better record by the end of the season. I thought Jordan Farmar coming back was a great acquisition; and, if a team wasn’t going to let its star player (Kobe) return too soon, then Farmar wouldn’t come back too soon from his injury either – but that’s not how it all happened, as we see it now with hindsight, is it?

This season had promise, this season had potential – The Lakers had a training camp with their head coach acquiring the types of players he needs to make his system work and… it was working! But The Clippers, even without Chris Paul, absolutely crushed us! That Derrick Collison guy from UCLA is pretty darn good! Why would The Indiana Pacers ever trade him away? How smart that acquisition was for The Clippers (to show some foresight?) to acquire Collison as Bledsoe (whom they traded away as quickly as they acquired Doc Rivers – which I thought was a stupid move!) was recently injured as well. Blake Griffin was nothing short of amazing! Jamaal Crawford? Not so much. But he was better than Jordan Hill, or anybody else that The Lakers tried to sub into the game to give them an instant energy lift – like these players usually do for their respective teams.

A friend texted me this morning (whom my daughter mis-read the name of, as “Butter Shame”): “I think we’ve hit rock bottom. Kobe needs to take the year off and heal and see what the lottery brings.” I don’t know if management feels that way, or not. I don’t think so. I don’t. It was a horrible game to have to watch, but I did watch it. I liked the Mike Trudell interview of Mitch Kupchak I just finished reading. It was insightful, hopeful. And, like Mitch, I don’t believe in “tanking” either. But if percentages get to that point that shutting it down is more sensible, I understand why team’s do that, in general. The Lakers just haven’t ever had to put such practices into motion, for the most part. Thanks, guys!

Go, Lakers!

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