Just how good are the Los Angeles Clippers heading into the regular season on Christmas Day? Good enough that maybe even Clippers Owner Donald Sterling may not be able to mess it up. If the two teams who are tenants of the Staples Center in Los Angeles continue to play against each other as they did on Monday night, it won’t be long before the Lakers are referred to as “That Other Team In L.A.” With a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan the Clippers took over the contest in the third and won 114-95 in a game that really was not that close.
Billups, who was acquired by the Clips on waivers after the New York Knicks released him via the “NBA Amnesty Clause” led all players in scoring with 23 points. CP-3 knocked down 17 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds in the victory. The tandem was so good that the club’s young and talented point guard Eric Bledsoe never logged any minutes in the game.
The Lakers who were designated the home team in this contest; received most of their scoring from their big three. Kobe Bryant had 22 points, while Paul Gasol added 16 more and center Andrew Bynum recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards in the loss.
Both teams came out strong in the first and very competitive. Lakers guard Darius Morris drained an outside jumper at the buzzer knotting up the game at 28-28. The two teams stayed close through the early minutes of the second, however the Clippers ran off 7 straight points and the Lakers never regained their footing. The Clippers would head into the locker room on top 55-50.
The Clips took over the game in the third; holding the Lakers to 17 points and scoring 36 points themselves. When the smoke cleared The Clippers held a 91-67 lead. The fourth quarter was glorified garbage time. The two teams will meet again on Wednesday.