Below are five things to take from the Lakers’ 142-94 Thursday to the Clippers at Staples Center:
1. The Lakers’ defense is terrible. So what else is new? Whether the Lakers go big or they go small, the same problems persist. They offer no rim protection. They don’t get back on defense. They really don’t show any effort. That enabled the Clippers to feature a flurry of double-digit scorers, including Darren Collison (24 points), Blake Griffin (20 points), Matt Barnes (17 points), DeAndre Jordan (14 points), Chris Paul (13 points), Reggie Bullock (11 points), Glen Davis (10 points) and Danny Granger (10 points). The Clippers drove to the basket with ease. They knocked down shots from the perimeter unguarded. The Clippers outrebounded the Lakers, 64-33. This all amounted to the Lakers’ worst margin of defeat since losing by 46 points to Portland on Jan. 9, 1995. But hey things could get worse. Lakers once allowed a franchise-worst 173 points to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 27, 1959.
Such an effort reflects poorly on the players’ failure to compete and the coaching staff’s failure to entice players to buy into everything. Sure, the Lakers have offered some lightning in a bottle, such as upsetting Portland. But the Lakers look checked out. Instead of defending, the Lakers hacked the Clippers en route to a 13 of 18 from the foul line. Instead of opening the second half with effort, the Lakers botch an inbounds pass on the opening possession. The Lakers may have proudly displayed their championship banners in a designated home game at Staples Center. But the Clippers fully mocked them with every open dunk and jumper along the way. Even more embarrassing: the Clippers lone disappointment happened on a missed jump shot at the end of the third quarter that could’ve extended the lead to 50 points.
2. The Lakers offered nothing on offense If nothing else, the Lakers can sometimes at least make games entertaining by scoring in bunches in transition and from the three-point line. But aside from Pau Gasol’s 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting, the Lakers hardly looked efficient. They shot 33 of 82 from the field and 7 of 28 from three-point range. The Lakers looked like they were simply going through the motions and hardly even trying to provide the crisp ball movement and high energy that often made this offense hum.