Despite their offseason noise, the Lakers are no longer the kings of the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant's 40 points and a team effort that resulted in 50 percent shooting from the field weren't enough, as the Lakers fell to the Clippers 105-95.
The Clippers pulled away from the Lakers in the third quarter. Blake Griffin's nine points helped spark an 18-5 run to take an 82-67 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lakers were able to cut the lead down to eight points with five minutes remaining, but that was as close as the Lakers would get.
The victory for the Clippers ended a nine-game drought as the road team against the Lakers. I know they have only played two games this season, but I could not be more impressed with this team.
I loved just about every aspect of the Clippers' game. They did a great job of disrupting Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, as both were not as productive as they were expected to be. The ball movement was beyond impressive, as the Clippers are starting to show signs of great team chemistry.
We are slowly but steadily learning that depth in Los Angeles is clearly in the Clippers' favor. Their bench came to play tonight, posting a solid 46 points. Twenty-one of those points belonged to a revamped Jamal Crawford.
Chris Paul's stat-line tonight was sensational. For a guy to have 15 assists and only one turnover is unheard of. Not to mention he also added 18 points.
Five Clippers were able to reach double figures in scoring.
Pau Gasol had 14 big rebounds but took only two shots in the second half and was unable to find the foul line.
Dwight Howard did not look 100 percent, and the supporting cast was horrendous. The Laker bench was only able to score 16 points.
The Clippers will host Golden State at home tomorrow night and look to continue building solid team chemistry.
The loss puts the Lakers at 0-3 for the first time in 34 years. The only team to win the NBA title after an 0-3 start is the 1990-91 Chicago Bulls. For the time being, there are not too many smiles in Laker Land. Don't hit the panic button just yet.