An injury-depleted Lakers team was dominated by the Clippers, their intra-Staples Center rivals, being blown-out, 123-87, on Friday. The 36-point victory margin was the Clippers' largest ever against the Lakers, besting a 125-94 victory in 1992 at the Sports Arena, then the Clippers' home.
Some might say that an asterisk needs to be printed next to this game in the record book since both teams were playing without their injured superstar guards, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. The Lakers were also playing without Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar.
But give credit where credit is due...the Clippers just out-played the Lakers. If you believe in the expression "on any given Sunday," then the Lakers had a chance to win. Any team on any given night has a chance to win...in any sport.
It was also Clippers sharp-shooter J.J. Redick's first game back after being sidelined with a broken wrist, and he scored 19 points. He ended up making five of his first six attempts from the field in scoring 10 first-quarter points, looking as if he'd never missed a game and seemed to immediately heal any loss of chemistry while he was on the shelf recovering from his injury.
In Paul's absence, Darren Collison has taken over in fine fashion at the point, scoring 20 points with seven assists. Jamal Crawford also stepped up his game in the absence of Redick. Collison and Crawford are doing a great job driving their team.
And Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan put on their usual "Lob City" show, Griffin ending up with 33 points and 12 rebounds and Jordon with 13 and 10. The Lakers had no answer for them.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers was pleased. "We are focused on being a better team," he said. "That's what I talked to our guys about, not the opponent and not the opponent's dilemma. Our job is to improve each day so by the end of the year we're a better team."
In a seemingly bizarre lottery-type season for the Lakers, it is surreal to see this franchise in the state it's in...a franchise rich in winning tradition and always a contender. Fans are shocked and in disbelief having to watch second and third-team players being forced to start each game due to all the injuries.
After the game, Lakers forward Nick Young, doing his best to help lead his short-handed team, voiced his frustration. "This game's supposed to be fun and you're supposed to enjoy it. But to lose like that, that's embarrassing," he said. "It shouldn't happen, period. Shouldn't lose by 40 to nobody, especially at home against a team like the Clippers. That makes it worse."
"Can't let people just dunk on us and clown us without giving them a hard foul or even showing any emotion. Foul somebody. Get mad."
For the Lakers, who had lost 10 of 11 before losing again to Cleveland Tuesday night, it was just another poorly played game in a string of bad games this season.
With this loss, the Lakers plunged to a record of 14-23. The last time they lost 10 of 11 games was during the 2004-05 season, when Rudy Tomjanovich was the coach and we all know what happened to Rudy...he abandoned ship after 41 games, citing mental and physical exhaustion.
That season, they ended up out of the playoffs and in the draft lottery.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni – who's done a decent job keeping his team from completely crumbling like a stale cookie with all the injuries - expressed his frustration and concern after the game.
"This is our first really bad game. We're going to need somebody to come off the injured list."