Lakers vs. Clippers Pre-Game Report: Battle L.A., Round Two

Los Angeles Clippers (9-5) at Los Angeles Lakers (10-8)
7:30 PM PST, January 25, 2012
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Fox Sports West, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, NBA TV
Radio: 710 AM (English), 1330 AM (Spanish)

Clippers Projected Starting Line-Up:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Chauncey Billups
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan

Key Reserves: G Mo Williams, F Ryan Gomes, G Randy Foye

The Lakers look to break a streak of 11 straight games without scoring 100 points Wednesday when they host the Clippers. The Lakers come off of a heartbreaking loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday that saw them surrender a sizable lead to lose the game 98-96. The Lakers last saw the Clippers just 11 days ago in a 102-94 defeat. They look to avenge that loss on their home court, where they post a record of 9-2.

Frontcourt: The Lakers will revisit with Blake Griffin tonight, who scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the first game. Those numbers are right on par with his averages of 21 points and 11.5 rebounds. In the absence of Chris Paul, Griffin’s scoring output has suffered; he is averaging 17.2 points in the five games without their star point guard. The Clippers have former Laker Caron Butler as the team’s small forward. Butler missed Friday’s game against the Timberwolves with an injured knee. However, it appears to not have slowed him down as he returned with a 15-point effort against the Raptors in Sunday’s victory. He is, however, just two games removed from a 1-for-12 shooting night where he scored just two points. Food for thought. Closing out the frontcourt is stopper DeAndre Jordan. He does not provide much offense, but more than makes up for it on the defensive end. Jordan averages eight points, and eight rebounds, but his standout stat is the three blocks per game he averages. Proceed with caution, he will reject many attempts.

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Backcourt: The Clippers were 3-2 without Chris Paul. They were 6-3 with him. His replacement was Randy Foye, who is a great shooter, but nowhere near the defender or passer that Paul is. However, Paul will be back in action for the Clippers on Wednesday night. There is also Chauncey Billups, who and has been contributing with 15.8 points per game. This season he has seen his three point percentage take a stumble, but he did just pass Peja Stojakovic for fourth place in career three-pointers. Still, both players will struggle to match the 33 points that Chris Paul poured in as he led the Clippers to victory on their home court against the Lakers, also his last game played.

Fun Facts:

  • The Lakers lead the overall series against the Clippers by a margin of 141-49.
  • Kobe Bryant stands just 180 points behind Shaquille O’Neal for fifth-place on the career scoring list. He currently has 28,416 points.
  • The last time the Lakers did not score 100 points in 12 straight games was during the 2003-04 season .

Keys to a Laker Victory:

Shut the Frontcourt Down
Blake is good, and with Chris Paul back he will be even more effective. Still, Jordan is not a scorer. Force him to take a few looks. Have him pass it to Caron Butler and put a defender there. Frustrate them here.

Kobe, Kobe, Kobe
The one game the Lakers lost during Kobe’s five-game streak of scoring 40 points or more was against the Clippers. He shot 50 percent from the field, and did his thing. If not for Paul’s effort, the Lakers win that game. Tonight, they must do it again. There is no other Kobe Bryant in the NBA, let alone Los Angeles. It’s up to Kobe to set the pace.

Prediction: Lakers 99, Clippers 97

For a full report on the Clippers be sure to check out our friends over at Clipperholics.

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