The Los Angeles Lakers will take on their division rivals Los Angeles Clippers tonight on opening night of the NBA after going 4-4 in the preseason. The Clippers are heavy favorites with a stacked line-up being led by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Lakers will be going with a familiar line-up they used in the preseason led by Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. Shawne Williams will continue to play at the power forward position and faces a tough assignment in guarding Blake Griffin. The Lakers will look to start the season off right with a win against a team that many doubt they can beat without Kobe Bryant in the lineup.
First Quarter The Lakers opened the quarter up with quick pace starting with a shot from Shawne Williams to put them on the scoreboard but struggled shooting the ball after. The Clippers got off to a quick start offensively and forced the Lakers to a few turnovers early in the quarter. Pau Gasol kept the Lakers in the game scoring inside and showing his range with a couple of long shots including a 3-pointer. Nick Young struggled offensively and was subbed out bringing in Xavier Henry who had the crowd cheering off a huge dunk after a turnover by former Laker Matt Barnes. The Lakers had trouble protecting their basket with the Clippers hitting their field goals and throwing down a few alley-oops. Pau Gasol had 11 points leading all scorers with 11 points and with some help from the bench the Lakers finished the quarter only down by two.
Second Quarter The bench started off the second quarter for the Lakers missing their first two shots before Jordan Hill tied the game hitting a short jumper and a layup. Henry continued to be aggressive taking the ball inside for a layup and hitting a 3-pointer giving Jordan Farmar his second assist of the game. A few bad turnovers by the Lakers had the Clippers on a 9-0 run midway through the quarter. After a small drought, Nick Young came back in the game hitting a long jump shot and 3-pointer. A 3-pointer by Nash put the Lakers up by two and had them on a 8-0 run. The Lakers had trouble defending Chris Paul who scored twice including a layup to tie the game with 3:29 to go in the half. The game slowed down after a delay of game violation was called for the second time on the Lakers and a flagrant foul soon after on Deandre Jordan that led to Young making two free throws, giving him 8 points. The Lakers were having trouble keeping the Clippers from scoring inside and gave up two dunks by Griffin. Great effort from the bench, led by Chris Kaman quietly scoring 10 points, had the Lakers only down by two with the score at 57-55 to end the half.
Third Quarter The quarter started off horrible for the Lakers giving up a quick layup and Gasol getting his shot blocked by Griffin. Williams took a couple of 3-point shots that were no good and Nash turned the ball over on the next possession. Two field goals from the Clippers had them up by 8 points leading to Mike D’Antoni calling a timeout two minutes into the quarter. The Lakers came out of the timeout with a 3 point shot attempt by Young who got to the line and hit all free throws. Steve Blake got his first points of the game by hitting two 3-pointers putting the Lakers up by 1. Midway through the quarter both teams were struggling offensively. Blake hit another 3-pointer off an assist by Steve Nash who has 4 assists. Things began to get sloppy for the Lakers with four turnovers all within two minutes. The Clippers were having trouble scoring but were successful in getting offensive rebounds over the Lakers. Jodie Meeks hit a 3-pointer in the game to bring the Lakers within 1 point with just a little over two minutes to go in the quarter. Wes Johnson had a 3-pointer attempt that would not go in and the Lakers end the quarter down 75-79.
Fourth Quarter The Lakers started off the quarter giving up an offensive rebound but it led to a block by Johnson. Henry forced his way driving in a layup giving him a total of 12 points off the bench. Farmar hit a 3-pointer to bring the Lakers within one but the Lakers gave up a dunk by Deandre Jordan on the defensive end. Meeks hit a long three and off a steal by Hill made a layup while getting fouled on the fast break. Midway through the quarter there are a total of six Laker players in double digits. Things begin to go the Lakers way with a layup from Farmar and a 3-pointer each from Henry and Johnson, who finally scored in the game. Chris Paul hit a jump shot and got to the line slowing the pace of the game but a layup by Hill and an amazing drive by Farmar to the basket kept the Lakers rolling. The Lakers are doing a great job defensively and fighting for offensive rebounds while the Clippers are frustrated on both ends of the floor with a little more than three minutes left in the game. With a few lat game three-pointers, the Lakers were able to hold off the Clippers with a win 116-103.
VIDEO: Watch Lakers Guard Nick Young Post-Game As He Talks About The Extra Motivation For Beating The Clippers