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Five things to watch in Lakers-Clippers matchup

Baron Davis 1. Will the Lakers quickly bounce back from their poor performance against Washington? It's highly doubtful that the result between the Lakers (15-6) and the Clippers (5-17) will remain in question. But as the Lakers' 115-108 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday indicated, the outcome required more of an effort than necessary.

The Lakers opened a 19-point lead and displayed dazzling plays on offense only to crash and burn in the second half and force themselves to squeak out a victory. With the Lakers playing the first of six consecutive games away from Staples Center on Friday against the Chicago Bulls, a stiffer test awaits than in an alleged road game at Staples Center. So there's no need to make this game more challenging than it should be. Despite the Clippers' inconsistency this season, however, part of their four-game home winning streak involved upsets against the Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs, proving that the Clippers are, if nothing else, quite effective in rearranging the Western Conference standings. I don't expect the Lakers to join that list, but they shouldn't consider it an impossibility.

2. The Lakers need to take advantage of a depleted Clippers lineup: If the Lakers think it's been tough having to absorb injuries to Andrew Bynum and Theo Ratliff, they can at least take comfort in knowing that they're not the Clippers. The Times' Lisa Dillman reports that Clippers center Chris Kaman will remain sidelined after an MRI revealed he has a bone bruise in his left ankle. Brian Cook will serve the second game of a two-game suspension. And Clippers guard Baron Davis is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game because of a sore left hamstring.

A similar scenario happened last season when Kaman's absence because of a back injury allowed the Lakers to feast on an athletic but ineffective DeAndre Jordan. But in Davis' case, the Lakers might actually hope he starts in place of Eric Bledsoe. I'm sure Derek Fisher wouldn't mind, especially considering he managed to spark Davis in a unnecessary rampage last season. Nonetheless, the Lakers are well aware of how a thin rotation makes it more difficult to play aggressive and energetic basketball. No better way to exploit that lack of depth than to strike early.

3. The Lakers' front line might be tested. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wants to see Blake Griffin in person before he forms an opinion about the high-flying, athletic playmaker. But I don't know. These highlight reels here, here and here look pretty all right to me. But Lamar Odom acknowledged to The Times' Mike Bresnahan that Griffin's endless energy will provide a good test for a front line that's already playing loads of minutes.

"Very explosive in the paint, mostly jumps off of two feet," Odom said to Bresnahan about Griffin, who is averaging 20.2 points and 11.8 rebounds. "He's a little more skilled than people give him credit for. Great hand-eye coordination, catches the ball well."

It will be a good test for Griffin matching up with the likes of Odom and Pau Gasol, who have helped the Lakers to a second-best mark of 47 points in the paint per game but on Wednesday night will go up against a team that is just half a point behind the Lakers' production inside. Griffin isn't the only one to look out for inside. Clippers forward Craig Smith brings tremendous bulk and can be a difficult matchup because of his physicality. The Lakers' main strength includes their inside presence, but both Odom and Gasol admittedly have played less aggressively to avoid getting into foul trouble and to try to maintain their energy.

4. Who will match up with Eric Gordon: Ron Artest or Bryant? Artest spent last off-season getting down to 245 pounds, hoping he'd have better mobility and speed in defending quicker players. Though he held Kevin Durant to 35% shooting in the first round of the playoffs last season, Artest feels he can't  rely on his strength alone when he guards Durant next time around. Gordon is another player whose smooth shooting stroke, finesse drives and quickness could give Artest a strong indication of whether he's making progress. If the Lakers' play against Washington indicates anything, Artest still has a ways to go. After scoring 23 points on eight-for-17 shooting, Gilbert Arenas said, "Ron had me frustrated with his strength, but I had him frustrated with my speed a little bit.

A Bryant-Gordon matchup could also be enticing. With Bryant showing an increase in driving to the hoop and operating in the paint, it appears he's restoring the spring he had before his knee complications. Gordon and Bryant are also quality defenders. And though locking in on someone defensively so solidly skilled might take away from their offensive performance, Gordon's talent might entice Bryant to take on the challenge. Whoever guards Gordon, whether it's Bryant or Artest, has an important task considering that the Clippers are 1-10 when Gordon scores fewer than 27 points. That means the Lakers can tolerate Gordon scoring so long as it comes at the expense at team balance, but not to the point where he becomes unstoppable.

5. Can Steve Blake's scouting report pay off? Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said it's customary that he and his coaching staff ask players if they're willing to divulge extra information about their former teams to help the scouting report. So when the Lakers prepared for Portland in early November, backup guard Steve Blake was more than willing to share all the state secrets regarding the Trail Blazers, whom Blake played for during the 2005-06 season as well as from 2007 to 2010. The Clippers then acquired Blake in a trade last season along with Travis Outlaw and cash for veteran power forward Marcus Camby, so it shouldn't come as a surprise if Blake volunteered again.

Jackson, in a joking manner, gave all the credit to assistant coach Chuck Person for the Lakers' 121-96 victory over Portland, but it wouldn't surprise me if the extra help from Blake could lead to another dominant performance. After all, what better way to top his triple-double as a Clipper in last season's finale against the Lakers?

-- Mark Medina
twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Clippers guard Baron Davis might not play against the Lakers on Wednesday because of a sore left hamstring. Credit: Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire

 
Comments () | Archives (41)

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hahhahhahahah

i was watching the last Clippers-Sacto game on Monday

the commentators were very SAD, because Cookie very SAD because he can't play against the Lakers. The favorite moment of his career.

there is ONE thing to look forward tonight:

how many FACIALS Griff-in will have?

on Gassy

on LO

both???????????????

that will be fun. will Gassy fizzle again?

where Bynum the 42 points Clippers BEAST?

I actually wouldn't mind seeing Ron Artest draw the primary defensive assignment on Griffin in tonight's contest...

Jefe is right: Would be a good idea to keep in mind the matchup Artest-Griffin, in case Gasol or Odom are being owned by BG, our future P&G!

1. i don't care if they bounce back as long as they win.
2. i don't care if they take advantage as long as they win.
3. i don't care how awesome Blake Griffin is as long as he loses.
4. i don't care about who guards Gordon as long as he loses.
5. see above.

listen all you whiney babies, championships are awarded for winning, not for style. the record is the same for a blow-out as for a 2 point victory, i just want them to find a way to win. there's no way to be awesome for 82 games plus the playoffs and other teams have good players or even bad players who can get really hot. there's no accounting for luck either. finding a way to win, even when one might not deserve to win(in some folks' estimation) is part of the season.

I don't post much, the other guys say it better, however Dfish scares me every time I watch him try to go to the rim or watch him try to guard any one. Now I cringe every time he shoots. PS I also know he is a leader, but is not a starter in the NBA. Only PJ thinks so.

Tom in the desert

@Tom in the desert

I too would prefer if he never took it to the rim unless no one was in the vicinity.

As for his jumper, it comes and goes, but it always shows up HUGE in the post season.

He's not the best defensive guard in the League, but by no means is he the worst- I'de say he's somewhere in the middle.

Every time Dfish shoots I yell O NO aaa great shot. It seems he can guard some, but most of the younger PGs go right by him, he seems about 2 steps behind. I find myself not mad at Fish, but at PJ. its frustrating.


Tom in the desert

Posted by: mclyne

I guess the Fish haters here are more knowledgable about good TEAM basketball players than Jerry West, Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan and Kobe Bean Bryant.

How come they aren't GMs, or coaches in the NBA? I'll tell you why, because they don't know what the hell they are talking about.
___________
This is one of the most tired excuses made by people.

Look, I'm not a Fisher lobbyist, every year we see the same ole crap from this guy and every year he cost us games. But if ever a player has nine lives it's Fish and he'll probably find a way to win a game or two in the playoffs to silence his critics.
But in the meantime it's always a blast to rank on him, Why? BECAUSE HE DESERVES IT.
Fisher loyaltists always get so bent out of shape when someone has the nerve to say negative things about Fish to the extent that their reaction is worse than any Hater of Troll. It's the pot calling the kettle black. You want it both ways and that's what I have a problem with.


First, we don't want to see Fish take jumpers and now we complain when he attacks the rim. Personally, if the J's aren't fallin', I want the rim to be attacked. Now, if the refs aren't calling fouls, that's a different story but you have to attack the rim for one of 3 outcomes: a high percentage shot, an And 1 or a trip to the free throw line. A long jumper usually results in a long defensive rebound which leads to a fast break. Leave Fisher alone; he's a 5 time NBA champion being coached by Phil "13 Rings" Jackson. Enjoy the win tonight.

Darn it! Identity Crisis again - Antyfed is Frmkt

I know what you guys are talking about regarding Fish. It scares me when he drives to the bucket, but the dude is money in the playoffs with a clutch shot or 3. I love Fish, and yes he has lost a step or two - but he will absolutely hit a citically important shot in a critically important game when we need it the worst. And he will draw a charge in a pivotal moment of a game. And who will ever forget The Finals last year and basically won that game for us with that length of the court drive, layup and a foul against the fool Garnett, Big Baby Shrek, and Rasheed Skunkhead? I know I won't ever forget that play.

In short, Fish - by himself - has never cost the team - to my recollection - a playoff or championship series.

MM- Sometimes your analysis is spot on things to watch for, this time it's wrack. Thriller will never guard Gordon in life, to slow I don't care how much weight he drops. Also the Lakers should never have a problem with the Clips, this team is a SLUG. SA, NO and the Thunders never showed up and got their @zz slaped.

@Troll Man

I have a problem with losers who come to this blog, contribute nothing worth any value, and waste other's time.

Go waste your time somewhere else- your comments are boring, regurgitated garbage that don't serve any purpose here.

I think you would be right at home at a Miami Heat blog.

People who express educated concerns about Derek Fishers are Lakers fans.

People who blindly attack Derek Fisher and make ridiculous insults about Derek Fisher are trolls, idiots and chicken littles. Nothing more.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

@Jon K.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

This site is not here so people can rip apart Lakers players. Yes, everyone has the right to speak their minds, but, if all you have to contribute is negative vomit, then do us a favor and choose somewhere else to do it.

"In short, Fish - by himself - has never cost the team - to my recollection - a playoff or championship series.

Posted by: frmkt | December 08, 2010 at 05:28 PM "

I don't think so either but there have been playoff series where he did not perform (the 2004 finals comes to mind.) He has definitely had his share of playoff success but outside of those couple years during the 3peat when he did not miss from 3, his playoff stats tend to be on par with his regular season stats. I think some people have envisioned that he is a completely different player in the playoffs as opposed to the regular season and I don't really see it that way.

His game against Sacramento this year was a performance that most people seem to think he is only capable of doing in the playoffs. In reality, anytime it's a close game, he's going to get open from the 3 point line and he has a good chance of making the shot if they get him the ball. The playoffs just provide more of those opportunities which is why so many role players become heroes in the playoffs.

wo bu yao lai la ...w o hen hai xiu de...

mclyne

ONE SURE GETS A BIG HEAD AFTER AN RCOTD

DOESN'T ONE

mclyne

I REPEAT

Fisher loyaltists always get so bent out of shape when someone has the nerve to say negative things about Fish to the extent that their reaction is worse than any Hater of Troll. It's the pot calling the kettle black. You want it both ways and that's what I have a problem with.

So for the ones that say Fish can't guard the speedy PGs in the league...name me 2 that can...Are they on a championship caliber team...

The Lakers are like a race car...Some times if is not tuned in precisely, it won't run as fast, smooth or respond as well...But if it's dialed in...it's a hard car to beat, and the other drivers would hope, that we make a mistake which they can capitalize on...Meaning to say...it's the Lakers who will beat the Lakers...

Why the analogy of a race car...

It's a machine with numerous parts...which all have to fit...for it to run to it's most effective level...Like all custom high performance cars...it needs some upgraded parts to have maximum power...

So let's say the big block engine is Pau...the custom fuel injection, turbo charge nitro would be Kobe...the custom suspension would be Lamar...the special tires Artest...and the frame and shell would be Fish...

I'm not a mechanic, so my analogy might be weak...but the point being...in PJ's race car...Fish is an integral part, but not one that he needs, to make him the fastest car on the track that day...

If the driver of the car is comfortable with it...then book it Dano...yes a sleeker shell might give him a better edge...but he has his parts that already make his car faster than the rest of the field...

Replacing Fish is not what this team lacks...and who would you replace him with as the starter...Blake...Shannon...

Defensively...there is not much upgrade there...I've seen guards blow by both this season...and without looking it up...I know Fish has drawn more charges that both Shannon and Blake put together...

So back off Fish...Give the team Mitch and PJ put together a chance...we are still one of the elite teams in the league, and if you have been a fan of this team for the last 3 years...you know they are a different animal in the playoffs...

I have no problem with people criticizing players on our team...I have a problem when posters do NOTHING BUT, criticize a player, coach or the front office...EVERY TIME THEY POST...

5 things to watch tonight Lakers vs Clippers.

1.) Fans Yawning
2.) Fans Feasting On Tacos
3.) Fans Yelling Let Me Play
4.) Fans Calling On The Man From" The Shining" To Take The Clippers On A Winter Vacation.
5.) Fans demanding a refund.

Yawn
(\__/)
(='.'=)
(")_(")


Congrats to DFish on his consecutive game streak. Like Allan Stewart Konigsberg said, "90% of life is showing up". Fish thanks for answering the bell.

Hey leave Fisher alone. He is the Master Link.
Man has it come to that.
The man has the bling to back up his worth and we act like we have bling.
Hey idiots Check your fingers Empty thats what I thought.

Next!!!!

It's obvious to me and to the dismay of the coaching staff that this team will pace itself through the entire season with the notion that they will "flip the switch" when necessary and fact is, they can. Does it make it right? Probably not but they've been to the finals for the last 3 seasons and were victorious twice in a row.

That means they can and will "flip the switch" when the playoffs arrive whether we, the fans or the coaching staff like it or not. In the end, it's the players that take the floor and play the game. There's still a couple of variables to contend with: Bynum's ability to return and remain on the floor and what will the FO do - if anything - before the trade deadline. Until then, settle in because during the regular season, the team has proven not to dedicate themselves to defense as much as we and the coaching staff would like but somehow, they're always in the playoffs where those series are won via defense and rest assured - it won't be easy - they'll be in the finals again next year.

Wonderful post frmkt!!!

I agree 100%...am I happy about that bad habit...no...

But weighing everything out...do we want a team like the Cavs the last 2 years...who was successful and dominating during the practice season...only to lose in the playoffs...

Take you pick...Choice A - Lakers...Choice B - Cavs 2008-2010...

Thought so...Last note...of the last 3 Laker seasons...which one had the best regular season record...hmmm what happened that year...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up!!!

@LEW... thank you and #17 it is!

frmkt, I understand your statements.
Many players who make millions of dollars take this 82 game season as something that lacks interest.
If the season was only 50 games long. It would make for more competitive games.
Also if we eliminated 2 teams from each league from making the playoffs that would also increase the intensity.
The problem with only 50 games is The Money The Owners need to pay for their product.

Does anyone know if tonights game is on FSW or FSW2...I know it's on KCAL, for all road games are televised there, but woe is me, no Channel 9 here in Vegas...

Ah
What is the purpose of this blog
It is the intercourse of opinions that if taken to seriously, will eventually bring out the worst in ones personality.
It is biases exemplified
It is prejudice unchecked
It encompasses the entire spectrum of the human condition
And it doesn't apologise for it's position as long it's genuine.


Lew,
I got this:

http://atdhe.net/index.html

Allan Stewart Konigsberg = Woody Allen.

Haiku Poem:

Cry me a river

Let me troll for a fisher

Just give him a carp

Lew

Stellar post at 06:20 PM! I have no idea if FSW is televising the game.

888,
I'm calling the ACLU, on you.
You must include stellar post 06:23 PM!!!
LMAO perry mason.

I've been watching the Utah Miami game off and on and everytime I check in, wade and bosh are on the bench. I guess spoesltra gave in after all.

LETS ALL GET OVER IT EVEN WITHOUT THAT LOSER AB, LAKERS BY 12!

AB a loser wow rodney king.
Hey Lew, this place ain't no different from the Real Forum.
I'm out we got internal carps.
I smell it.

Later.

Fisher King reigns over the land of purple and gold -- today, tomorrow and forever! All you disgusting trolls eat the dirt and the grime under his glorious sneakers!


God loves you, Derek, and so do his angels!


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