Sugene Lee

Postgame: Clippers vs. Lakers 12/19

In NBA: LA Clippers on December 20, 2011 at 9:02 am

Clippers take a 114-95 victory over the Lakers in their first preseason game.

This game was nothing like a typical preseason game. Seats were filled like a regular season match in the Staples Center. Tickets were sold out to watch the Lakers take on the new and improved Clippers team and the competitiveness was shown right out of the gate.

However, because it was the first actual game of the season, both teams showed weaknesses that often occur when they haven’t played together for months.

Kobe, as expected, went on the court to play basketball and revealed no sign of negative emotions concerning his personal life and hit his amazing jump shots from the start but ended up with 7 turnovers. Pau and Bynum, in the front court, also played competitively and at times gave the Clippers a hard time in the post.

Yes, it was just a preseason game, but the Clippers took over the court tonight. The flow wasn’t perfect for either team considering the Lakers had to learn a different system with new coach, Mike Brown, and the Clippers only played together for a couple days. Yet, the Clippers revealed their ability to play together in those 48 minutes.

Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan were the starting lineup for the Clippers and they were one heck of a starting lineup. The veterans played as if they were at least 15 games into the regular season and DeAndre showed his remarkable dunking and blocking abilities. He had a game high of 4 blocked shots, and boy were they vicious. With a swat at Kobe’s shot attempt, DJ knocked Kobe to the ground and embarrassed him. Same to rookie, Darius Morris, who showed a little Kobe in him with a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter to tie the score at 28 each. Jordan and Chris Paul also connected with a couple lobs and a strong finish that landed the highlight reel.

CP3, with 17 points and 9 assists also played with excitement and passion as he debuted with the Clippers. He wasn’t 100% satisfied, but he said they did a decent job “learning on the fly.” With experience, CP3, Billups and Butler were able to lead the young team by hitting shots and giving direction. Billups, with a game high of 23 points at age 35, showed no signs of aging after hitting consecutive 3’s, one from way deep (now I know why he’s called “Mr. Big Shot”). Butler also hit a few of his mid-range jumpers with ease.

Blake Griffin, who had a couple of highlights of his own got into foul trouble early and couldn’t knock down shots. After an off-the-backboard assist from Billups, Blake slammed the ball down through the hoop, but received a technical for hanging on the rim too long (which shouldn’t have been a technical, but the referee told Blake he probably shouldn’t have called that, so I’m not bitter anymore). Additionally, I also predict that Blake may not be the superstar anymore with the great talent surrounding him. Maybe it was just the preseason game, but he was not himself (hopefully I was just speculating too much into it).

Although the Clippers ended up with a W by 19 points, speaking as a die-hard Clippers fan, this game meant nothing and proved nothing but the fact that the Clippers can be a good team. It didn’t prove that the Clippers were going to be the new L.A. team and it also didn’t prove that the Clippers were going to be the better team. Both teams weren’t at their full potential, but were still learning to gel together and play together. No matter how many all-stars the Clippers have, a championship is simply not possible within the first year as we saw with the Big 3 in Miami. It takes time getting used to with the addition of new players who have never played with each other. With the Lakers losing by a big margin in their first preseason game, they might come out Wednesday night with more motivation and come out with their own victory (but I hope that isn’t the case because I’m going to watch that game at the Staples Center).

The best part of all this is how much excitement there was in the atmosphere of the Staples Center when it was “only” a preseason game. The Clippers bandwagon is filling up, but is also bringing a lot of haters with it.

Boy, it’s going to be a good season.

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