Lakers Finally Top Clippers Using Energy, Emotion and Unlikely Offense

The Los Angeles Lakers (11-8) topped the Los Angeles Clippers (9-6) in the second edition of “Battle: L.A.” last night. After losing two exhibition games and the first regular season meeting between the two, the Lakers were able to pull out a physical victory over their Los Angeles counterparts, 96-91.

Kobe Bryant (24 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) had an all-around game (although his seven turnovers were not a stat we would have liked to see filled up), and Pau Gasol played big (23 points on 9-13 shooting, 10 rebounds, four assists). Andrew Bynum added 19 points and just six rebounds, but also had four blocks (including one big one against DeAndre Jordan to help protect the lead down the stretch). Rookie Andrew Goudelock (14 points on 5-8 shooting; 2-3 from the three) and Derek Fisher (11 points, 3-4 from three) added some scoring to the back court.

However, it was Metta World Peace who seemed to be the spark for the Lakers. World Peace scored just three points on a critical three pointer with 3:30 left in the fourth quarter, but was the high assist man for the Lakers with seven. He was seemingly everywhere, doing everything. He had two steals, and also had a nice block on Chris Paul, who was driving to the rim. When he wasn’t powering his way to the rim and getting Andrew Bynum easy buckets, Metta was playing the role of defensive enforcer.

On one play, Blake Griffin fell to the floor in order to recover a loose ball, and it was World Peace who wrestled on top of him and forced the jump ball. When he wasn’t doing that, he was escorting Reggie Evans out of a Lakers’ huddle. Evans had apparently come over to talk trash to Pau Gasol,  but World Peace chased him out of the huddle, offering his own response. Kobe Bryant even said World Peace looked like Ron Artest, although not quite the Ron Artest from the Auburn Palace brawl a few years back. Perhaps he wasn’t on that level, but he definitely came to play and play physical.

The rest of the game was just as physical, with a total of six technical fouls being called, and one ejection (Josh McRoberts). Even Pau Gasol and Chris Paul exchanged some words towards the end of the game.

As for the Clippers, Blake Griffin (26 points, nine rebounds, six offensive) did most of the scoring. Caron Butler and Mo Williams chipped in 16 points apiece, while DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and five rebounds. Their starting back court, however, combined for just 13 points on 3-16 shotting. Chris Paul, in his first game back, managed just four points but still had 12 assists, and Chauncey Billups added nine points on 1-8 shooting.

The game started out slow for the Lakers, who trailed by 10 in the first quarter, but quickly picked it up and ended the quarter down just two due in large part to nine points from an aggressive Pau Gasol.

The second quarter featured the emergence of rookie guard Andrew Goudelock, who scored 10 quick points, as well as the continued aggressiveness of Pau Gasol, who had already surpassed his season average of 15.8 by half time (he had 17). Still, at the Lakers still trailed by two, 51-49 at half.

The third saw the Clippers go ahead for a nine point lead early on, but the Lakers managed once again to cut the lead to just three for a 71-68 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lakers had a strong overall fourth quarter, led by Kobe Bryant, who had 12 of his 24 in the final period to lead the Lakers to victory over the Clippers for a season series tie of 1-1.

Next Page: The Breakdown

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