Sunday, August 2, 2015

Clippers rout Lakers

LOS ANGELES—The L.A. Clippers have no banners on the walls or in the rafters at Staples Center.
They would need decades to measure up to the Lakers’ history.

And they don’t care. The past is easy to overlook in Hollywood. The present belongs to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and the Clippers, who are running Staples Center with style this season.
Paul had 24 points and 13 assists, and Griffin scored 18 of his 22 points in a spectacular first quarter, as the Clippers cemented their supremacy in L.A. with a 125-101 victory over the Lakers last night.
Chauncey Billups hit five three-pointers while scoring 21 points for the Clippers, who never trailed as they roared into the all-star break by clinching the season series in their city rivalry for the first time in 20 years.
The Clippers have won the Staples Center co-tenants’ first three games of the season, with L.A.’s longtime underdogs burying the 16-time champions in this latest meeting under a wave of 16 three-pointers.
“It’s great. It’s important to get these wins, but we’re not really just concerned about just them,” stressed Griffin, who outscored the Lakers by himself in the opening quarter.
“I mean, it’s good to be 3-0 against them, but we still have to play them another time and we still have to play a lot of other teams,” he reasoned.
“This isn’t one of those seasons where it’s going to come down to either us or them,” Griffin added.
“There’s a lot of other teams that are good in the West.”
Caron Butler had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers, who lead Golden State by seven games atop the Pacific Division standings.
The win was their fourth-straight in an impressive five-night stretch heading into what could be a memorable all-star game for L.A.’s teams, which are contributing four of the West’s five starters this weekend in Houston.
The Clippers hadn’t won this series in a season since taking three of five from the Lakers in 1992-93—but on April 7, they’ll go for the franchise’s first season sweep of the Lakers since 1975.
In a possible sign of how far the Lakers have fallen this season, Paul wouldn’t even recognize the Clippers’ city dominance without qualifying it.
“That’s all good and well, but it’s all about the post-season,” he stressed.
“This means nothing if we don’t do things in the playoffs.”
Kobe Bryant had 20 points and 11 assists for the Lakers, who head to the break in 10th place in the Western Conference—four games below .500 and with little reason to suspect things will get a whole lot better, particularly without Pau Gasol, who’s likely out until April with the latest in their series of serious injuries.
Miami beat Oklahoma City 110-100 in the only other game in the NBA last night.

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