After an early TNT game that turned into a Heat blowout for a long stretch of the second half — though the Bulls did come back to make it a game in the fourth — it was refreshing to see a tight intra-city battle between the Lakers and Clippers. Except, once the fourth quarter rolled around, things didn’t really go as many had foretold this preseason.
Our basketball ethos is tangentially related to karma. LeBron James wouldn’t have hit a mid-range jumper late against the Spurs in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals if he hadn’t worked on that shot endlessly over the summer. The same could be said for Ray Allen‘s iconic corner 3 to stave off a Heat defeat in Game 6. That’s why the Clippers implosion when their starters were run off the floor against the Lakers’ second team last night, fit into our basketball world view.
All offseason long, the added dimensions of new coach Doc Rivers and the long-range snipers J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley had many prognosticators proclaiming Los Angeles as now Clipper-land. Then Doc had to go and cover up the Lakers’ championship banners and word leaked that Clippers owner Donald Sterling had almost nixed the Dudley – Redick trade. That’s when Fate — that irascible Daughter of Justice — intervened.
When Xavier Henry (who doesn’t pronounce his first name like X-Men Xavier McDaniel, which pissed me off a lot last night) exploded for a career high 22 points last night, including the below doozy-of-a-dunk, it was juju justice for Lakers fans who spent the offseason getting laughed at by the schadenfreude crowd that loved Dwight Howard‘s exodus to the Rockets.
In the fourth quarter of last night’s Clippers-Lakers matchup at the Staples Center, the score was knotted at 77. Then the Clippers took a 4-point lead, and it appeared that lauded talent would eventually win out. Not so. Despite 10 fourth quarter points from Jamal Crawford, the Lakers bench of Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmer, the aforementioned Henry and Jordan Hill, stomped on the Clippers starters 41-24 in the final period by going 15-for-23 from the field and 6-for-8 from beyond the 3-point line. The Lakers finished 14-for-29 from deep, and shot the Clippers’ heralded starters right off the court in the fourth.
Now we’ve got Yahoo’s Marc J. Spears issuing warnings that the Clippers should stop parading around LA when they can’t beat a Kobe-less Lakers team. Then there’s Grantland’s E-I-C, Bill Simmons, offering invective via Twitter missives deriding DeAndre Jordan‘s defense and his woeful Clippers (he’s got season tickets after moving from Boston to LA a decade ago).
So the Clippers were embarrassed in their Staples Center home, despite acting as the visitors during the NBA’s opening night LA-pa-looza. Karma is a bitch sometimes, but She rankles on an even keel, so make sure to watch the next Clippers-Lakers game. All this apocalypse talk could switch Lady Luck back to Doc’s side.
What do you think?
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