The Los Angeles Lakers will face the Los Angeles Clippers just two days after being blown out by their hallway rivals. The Clippers outclassed the Lakers on both ends of the floor on Sunday. It’s clear that the Clippers are playing for a better playoff seeding, while the Lakers can’t wait for the off-season to arrive. Now that this Lakers team has the worst record in franchise history, what’s stopping them from going for 60 losses?
Frontcourt: DeAndre Jordan was feasting off of Chris Paul alley-oops against the Lakers on Sunday. He was an unstoppable force in the post and the Lakers big men were completely dominated. Jordan is enjoying a career year with 11.4 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. He’s become the defensive force that Doc Rivers envisioned when he took over coaching duties for the Clippers last season.
His frontcourt mate, Blake Griffin, has continued to evolve his game from a pure athlete to a versatile power forward. Griffin had a few eye opening assists of his own and was clearly enjoying himself on the court. This season he’s able to knock down mid-range jumpers with consistency which makes him much more difficult to guard. When big men guard him closely, Griffin uses his speed to blow by defenders en route to an inevitable dunk.
The former Laker, Matt Barnes is the prototypical glue guy who rebounds, defends and hustles. This season he’s averaging a career high 1.8 three-point makes per game and he’s punishing teams who forget to defend him. Barnes had four threes against the Lakers on Sunday night.
Backcourt: While Chris Paul didn’t score much on Sunday, he eviscerated the Lakers defense with his dribbling and passing. Paul orchestrated the Clippers offense and tallied 15 assists including an AND1 mixtape alley-oop off the backboard. Unfortunately, the Lakers don’t really have anyone who can limit Paul so it’s likely that he’ll have another big game tonight. Paul is enjoying an MVP-type year with 19.1 points, 10.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
J.J. Redick perfectly complements Chris Paul with his superb shooting and ability to play off the ball. With Paul controlling the rock, Redick is free to run off screens and tire out his defender. He’s great catching the ball off of curls and can even drive to the basket on occasion. Redick averages 2.6 threes on 43.5 percent shooting from deep, so the Lakers will need to have a hand in his face at all times.
Keys to Victory:
Have Fun: From a talent perspective there’s really no way the Lakers can match the Clippers. However the team can still go out there, have fun and play for the joy of the game. The Clippers were playing loose on Sunday as they ran up the score on the Lakers. Meanwhile the Lakers looked tight and confused most of the game. The Lakers offense will flow better when the team is loose and moving the ball around.
Jordan Clarkson’s Development: Jordan Clarkson was shut-down by Chris Paul on Sunday – he was held to two points and made just one of his six attempted field goals. Clarkson needs to take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much as he can from the best pure point guard in the league. Master class is in session and hopefully Clarkson will have a better performance tonight.
Los Angeles Lakers (20-56) at Los Angeles Clippers (52-26)
7:30 PM PST, April 7, 2015
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Clippers Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Chris Paul
SG: J.J. Redick
SF: Matt Barnes
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: SG: Austin Rivers, SF: Hedo Turkoglu, PF: Glen Davis
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Jeremy Lin
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Ryan Kelly
C: Tarik Black
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