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Five things to watch in Lakers-Clippers matchup

1. How might the Lakers' early start time affect their play? Coach Phil Jackson has often shared his concerns about how his team will look in afternoon matinees. He says the lack of a morning shootaround and poor sleep habits contribute to subpar efforts in matinee games. But this time, he said he didn't say anything to the team about the time difference. Well, there was one exception.

"I told Pau [Gasol] to go home right now and go to sleep," Jackson said. Before the Lakers' Jan. 2 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, 104-85, Gasol missed a morning shootaround because he overslept. "He has a hard time getting going in the morning," Jackson said. "He's on Spanish time. They eat their meals at 11 o'clock at night."

The Lakers are 2-0 in afternoon games, including a 99-92 victory Dec. 12 at New Jersey and a 120-110 victory Dec. 19 at Toronto, two games that didn't exactly exemplify sharp play. The Clippers, however, are used to earlier games, considering Staples Center reserves many Sunday evenings for Lakers games. They are 2-3 in such games, implying that it's more about the team's level than actual focus.

Still, with the Clippers winning six of their last 10 games and fresh off an upset victory over the Miami Heat, the Clippers don't need the early start to give them a spark. They might not win, but they could at least make it more difficult for the Lakers to secure the win. That was the case Dec. 9 when the Lakers won 87-86 after Derek Fisher made a game-winning shot.

"We expect a tough game," Gasol said. "It's a 12:30 game. It's an awkward time for us that we're certainly not used to. We're going to have to come out ready and ready to be challenged. But hopefully we'll try to impose our game plan."

2. Will Ron Artest match up with Blake Griffin or Eric Gordon?

Artest openly joked he wanted the human highlight reel that is Griffin to dunk on him. Artest was obviously joking, but Griffin will be going for a highlight, and it's going to be up to Artest to determine if that happens. If the Lakers' previous matchup is any indication, Artest will be up to the task. He provided two late-game steals, including one where he shut off an Eric Gordon entry pass to Griffin. The steals led to a Kobe Bryant floater and a Bryant jumper, giving the Lakers an 85-84 lead with 31.9 seconds remaining. Most of Griffin's 16 points on six-of-17 shooting came against Lakers forward Lamar Odom. But when Artest matched up with Griffin, the Clippers rookie had a Welcome to the NBA moment. Instead of Griffin dunking over Artest, Artest ripped the ball out of Griffin's hands as he hit the ground. That kind of intensity will surely set the tone.

It remains uncertain, though, whether Artest would remain locked in on Griffin. With Andrew Bynum's return to the lineup, the Clippers will have to manage the Lakers' heavy frontline without Chris Kaman and Brian Cook because of ankle injuries. That means Artest very well may guard Eric Gordon instead, another way to relieve the burden on Bryant, who then can concentrate more on the scoring end. Although he mostly guarded Griffin in the last matchup, Artest at times also marked Gordon. On one play, Artest fought for a loose ball and nearly lifted Gordon before falling over him.

3. Andrew Bynum has a chance to rebound from a poor performance against New Jersey.

With Bynum coming off a rare disappointing effort against New Jersey, where he fell to foul trouble and scored only two points on one-of-five shooting, the Lakers matchup with the Clippers comes at a perfect time.

That's because Bynum historically has done well against them.

He recorded a season-high 42 points against them in the 2008-09 season. He also posted 20 points against an ineffective DeAndre Jordan last season when Kaman remained sidelined because of a back injury. It's unclear, though, how things will turn out this time around. If he matches up with Griffin, Bynum's size and post presence would provide a good chess match against Griffin's quickness and athleticism. If Bynum matches up with Jordan, he'll meet a much different player. In 29 starts this season, Jordan has displayed better decision making and reads, avoided foul trouble and provided a physical presence that's left plenty of teams impressed with his potential.

4. Will Pau Gasol have better energy? The last time the Lakers matched up with Clippers, Gasol appeared overwhelmed with fatigue, scoring 10 points on only four-of-13 shooting in 40 minutes. That made it surprising he played late in the game, a move that nearly cost the Lakers dearly. Moments after Gasol entered the lineup with 2:32 remaining and the Lakers trailing 83-79, Griffin easily stuffed his shot. A minute later, he mishandled Bryant's bounce pass. And then Jordan easily went backdoor over Gasol to give the Clippers an 86-85 lead with 15.5 seconds remaining.

During the Laker's seven-game winning streak, Gasol has averaged 17.85 points on 49.39% shooting in 35.14 minutes per contest, showing he's returning to normalcy. But there have been a few stretches of poor play, including a three-of-10 effort against Phoenix and a six-of-15 finish against New Jersey, allowing physical play to get the best of him. Gasol will meet plenty of physicality against Griffin and Jordan, and he'll have to be able to match that.

5. Expect many alley-oop lobs. The Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen has an interesting piece on the mechanics of the lobs the Lakers and Clippers throw down on a typical basis. There's no reason to expect anything less. Clippers guard Baron Davis has developed strong chemistry in setting up Griffin and Jordan, as have Steve Blake and Kobe Bryant with the likes of Shannon Brown, Bynum and Odom. It'll be interesting to see which team maintains the correct approach on this. Fast-break dunks and alley-oop lobs can help spark an offense and more effort on defense the following play. But making this a habit can also come at the expense of running a proper offense.

-- Mark Medina

twitter.com/latmedina

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

 
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Game day - look at FCM checking in with a post this early too.

Love how Lamar is all about makreting now. It's very funny how he's totally drinking the Kardashian kool-aid.

Should be an entertaining game since the Clips are feeling it. I expect the Lakers will have to endure a couple pounding dunks from Griffin early on before the alarm clock goes off. But maybe Lake show totally surprise me on this early Sunday.

Anyhow, it's a good day for Laker basketball here in SF. Foggy, windy, misty and cold. Blanket, couch, tequila maria, Lakers. Woohoo!

Cheers all - PLG

Anyhow, it's a good day for Laker basketball here in SF. Foggy, windy, misty and cold. Blanket, couch, tequila maria, Lakers. Woohoo! Cheers all - PLG
Posted by: PsychedLakerGirl | January 16, 2011 at 08:41 AM
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Sounds like you got your priorities in the right order Psyched. Lol! I predict Lakers by 8 but...Blake Grifin will go off today! Stay warm and...Cheers!!!

Hi Larry, hi Psyched.

I'm ready for some football and and some basketball today! What a nice combination. Like Hooligans and chips; like beer and tacos.

Hmmm.

Wes

Mamba24,

Let's get this party started babeeee! Lakers thump Clips!

What a nice combination. Like Hooligans and chips; like beer and tacos.
Hmmm. Posted by: wesjoenixon | January 16, 2011 at 08:55 AM
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Good morning Wesjoe! Now WesJoe I want you to tell me the truth. You have been out partying all night and have not been to sleep yet have you?
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Let's get this party started babeeee! Lakers thump Clips! Posted by: D(erek)J(eter) | January 16, 2011 at 08:58 AM
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DJ if you ask Wes the party never ended!!!!


Truly said my friend.

I'm going to have to Tivo the game 'cause the tennis courts are a callin' early this afternoon - but I'm looking forward to a great game and a stern test of the Lakers improved interior defense.

@DJ, LMAO!!!!

And now a minute with Mamba24
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As the new year is a time for reflection, I’d like to reflect on how fortunate I am to come from a hometown – Chicago - that has done so much the last 2 years. From putting one of it’s own in as President of the United States, to having a Hockey team – the Black Hawks win the Stanley Cup. And now having a team – The Bears – just steps away from the Super Bowl and another team The Bulls in the hunt for the Eastern conference championship. Wow I don’t think any other city has been blessed so much. Even though it’s 7 degrees below zero wind chill, with 6 inches of snow on the ground…Life is Good!!!!!! Does this sound like Mamba24 is bragging a touch? Well...Yes he is, Yes he is!!! LOL!
.
This has been your minute with Mamba24

I love the smell of Roll Call in the morning....LEWSTRS present and accounted for...CHECKIN IN FOR THE WIN BAYBEE!!!

What is better than a hot cup of java, on a cold, dreary Sunday Morning?

A hot cup of java and a Mamba24 Lakers Blog Roll Call...

Like rays of sunshine bursting through storm clouds...Roll Call sounds the ring of battle on Sunday Laker Game Day...

I will be wearing my Kobe #24 Sunday Whites today...office is closed...Patron is chillin in the freezer...

In the immortal word of Kobe Bean Bryant...

LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!

Repost:

I'm saying Lakers by 14. Yup, you heard that right, 14. No disrespect for the improving Clips or their mad athletic talent, but the Lakers (and Phil) mean business this time. The Clips had their shot by sneaking up on the Lakers last time. Now the Lakers are going to treat them like a serious threat...a serious threat at a time when they're starting to reel in the leaders on the HCA list. I expect them to show their little brothers that big brother is still da boss in da house.

I can't pull up one liners like you can Larry, but I know a classic scene when I see it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sr-vxVaY_M

Wes

@Mamba24.. Go Bears!!!Step one, Watch the Bears,cause that comes around one a year....Step two,Tivo the Lakers and sneak peeks to make sure we're winning, and Step three, watch later with a Margarita, chips and salsa! Enjoy you day!!!!!!!!!!

Good morning Lewstrs. I think the quote " he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos" was created for you my brother!! Thank you!!. Sunday Whites is good, Office closed, excellent, patron chillin in the freezer...LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED...HIT IT: http://tinyurl.com/3a3glme Let’s get it started black eye peas

Good to have a "Samba De Mamba24" Roll Call!

It ain't been the same without it!

Go Lakers!!!!!! Don't Slip With The Clips! And Send The Thunder Down Under!

Good to have a "Samba De Mamba24" Roll Call!

It ain't been the same without it!

Go Lakers!!!!!! Don't Slip With The Clips! And Send The Thunder Down Under!

I'm saying Lakers by 14. Yup, you heard that right, 14. No disrespect for the improving Clips or their mad athletic talent, but the Lakers (and Phil) mean business this time. The Clips had their shot by sneaking up on the Lakers last time. Now the Lakers are going to treat them like a serious threat...a serious threat at a time when they're starting to reel in the leaders on the HCA list. I expect them to show their little brothers that big brother is still da boss in da house. Posted by: CornerJ | January 16, 2011 at 09:32 AM
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HELL YEAH!!!! LETS' RIDE AMIGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I didn't intentionally double post. Maybe my iPad felt the need to emphasize the thought...

@Mamba24.. Go Bears!!!Step one, Watch the Bears,cause that comes around one a year....Step two,Tivo the Lakers and sneak peeks to make sure we're winning, and Step three, watch later with a Margarita, chips and salsa! Enjoy you day!!!!!!!!!! Posted by: NewMexicoLL | January 16, 2011 at 09:36 AM
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By God I think she's got it!!! GENIUS, PURE GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And how are you doing this Lakers game day morning NewMexicoLL?

I didn't intentionally double post. Maybe my iPad felt the need to emphasize the thought... Posted by: The Triangulator | January 16, 2011 at 09:42 AM
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That must be the new advanced model you're using!! Lol! Thanks for the kind words!
*

Roll call ... checking in!!!

OK, so we're midway through both the practice season and the second trimester and we're starting to show some glimpses of being in "mid-season form," so tonight we have a nice little test. On December 8th, these Clippers had us beat on their own floor, but our sorry, old, slow, over-the-hill, 36 year old starting point guard disappointed them with a buzzer beater reminiscent of his Game 3 heroics against the Celtics. The Clips are playing inspired basketball since a mid-December team meeting and have two young, all-star caliber players on the team in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon who have something to prove tonight. Look what they just did to LeBron James and his Karma.

Two #7's collide, and I'm not talking about LO. I'm talking about the Clips treating this like a Game 7 and the possible letdown for the Lakers after a 7 game winning streak. Add this to the Lakers psychological mix that Kevin Durant, Russell Westrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are coming to Staples Center tomorrow night, another potential distraction. Let's see if the Lakers can manufacture a stellar effort tonight and keep this thing going.

1-2-3 RING! #17 coming up STRONG!!

Good Morning Mamba24/BLOG CRUE
I've been away for about a week taking care of a few things and spending some time with my family. I like out tougher schedule for the rest of the month and the way our team is playing, I have confidence in that they'll play well. We've gotten closer to the top seeding and now need the Spurs to fade a little.

Have a great long weekend.

Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!

I can't pull up one liners like you can Larry, but I know a classic scene when I see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sr-vxVaY_M Posted by: wesjoenixon | January 16, 2011 at 09:33 AM
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Wesjoe I just have four words for you...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!!!

Here is my set today...a tribute for our Sunday matinee game...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnnMZ1xrL7E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCVVvNLUjTU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFM7Ty1EEvs

Have a great Sunday all...

Happy Sunday morning Lakersblog Fam!!!

I'm in LA and will be @ Staples tomorrow night to watch our beloved Lakers play...I'm really excited!!!

@Mamba24 - happy to see you and your roll call...glad you and Utz are back...

Have a great day everyone...Let's go Lakers!!!

Mamba24

Your roll call is OUT FREAKIN' STANDING, sir! Thanks for the hard work and the never ending mojo!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Mamba24 is back, so. The BANNER HOLDER is Back, HELL YEAH!! But where oh where is our BLOG GODDESS ZAIRA? Wher is that poetry, that inspriation, that swagger? Goddess I want you to stop this ISH and come back now!!!!!!!!! Pleassssssssssssssssssssssssse?

iheart - Glad you were able to make your LA trip, and got tickets to the huge game Monday...your represent girl...

I will try to make it to LA next month...my plans for this month quickly dissolved as business has really taken off...

But like the Lakers...I have to take care of business...

Hopefully there is a good game when I'm in town...and maybe we can put together a 'Council Meeting'...

@IHEARTKB24, thanks for the kind words. Now you represent at the game tomorrow young Lady. I'm glad you are excited, see if you can get some of those season ticket holders to be excited too!!
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@Lewstrs nice tunes my brother, I think Zaira will like the first one.
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@KobeMVP888, thank you sir. Just trying to keep up with you big brother!!
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@HugoBoss, You have a great weekend too my brother and thank you Colorado for Loving the Lakers!!!!

KobeMVP888,

you wrote: Don't tell me that you don't skim many of my posts

my response: I completely read all posts that I respond to. That includes
your posts.

you wrote: LakerTom is about the most misunderstood blogger I have ever had the privilege to read and he writes in about as clear and concise language as anyone, including professional journalists.

my response: We disagree.

you wrote: The classic example is how you and others somehow perceive me as seeing Bynum as the next Shaq when I have repeatedly referred to him as a role player for THIS team with a lot of potential should he steer away from further serious injuries.

my response: This is where context comes into play. You arrived on this
blog in the middle of a "conversation" b/n myself & LakerTom. You
refused to look into the archives for context. You missed the years of
LakerTom's posts which clearly stated: Bynum is a beast. He'll be the next
great Lakers center. He was put in the same category of Shaq & Wilt before
he was hurt. Despite his the fact that his numbers were no where close to
theirs when they started to play basketball.

you wrote: There are other misperceptions as well, such as what I mean by the "practice season," a concept that I am proud of borrowing from the late, great Truefan1947, the greatest Lakers blogger of them all.

my response: When you use a phrase coined by another person, it is *your*
responsibility to make sure that everyone understands what you mean. You
chose not to do that immediately *despite* multiple clues/tips that a number
of readers were not aware that it was a coined phrase. It is not *our*
responsibility to know who some anonymous blogger is nor should we know
what every blogger on a different blog has said.

you wrote: You have now suggested that I need classes in both reading comprehension AND writing. My son is an English major at SFSU and graduates in June and my brother is an English professor at the University of Wyoming, so maybe I will ask them to read my material and give me a little brush up.

my response: Actually, I think you should give them the posts that you're
responding to and your response. I'd be very interested in getting their
opinion. A suggestion:

Why don't you start with the posts before the Nets game? I said Lopez
would be a test. You responded that You would not trade Bynum for Lopez.
Why don't you ask them to address the logic in the response and post it?
Make sure that you don't give them any surrounding information, because
if you do you'll only be giving *your* side of it and you won't represent the
side of others.

I'm extremely curious to hear from them.

Go Kobe!
Go Lakers!!!

AND BEARS STRIKE FIRST!!! BEARS 3 SEAHAWKS 0!!!!

@LEW - I was hoping you'll be here...guess you'll just have to come to San Francisco then we can meet up with LakerTom and the rest of the NorCal peeps =)

I will try to come back here when they play the Magic in March...

@Mamba24 - you're welcome...you know the blog is not complete without your roll call...


Hey ya'll!

Is is DST right now in the East Coast? I need to know cos if it is, I have to watch the game here in the Philippines at 4.30 am, if not I just have to watch it during the regular time, 3.30am.

Thanks Laker fam!

All the way from the PI
BRYLLE

CORRECTION BEARS 7 SEAHAWKS 0!!! YES!!!!!

I was about to ask what game you were watching, Mamba

@Brylle, it's CST so watch it at 3:30 am. The sacrificies we do for our team! Lol! Good hearing from you sir!

I was about to ask what game you were watching, Mamba Posted by: LakerLass | January 16, 2011 at 10:30 AM
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LMAO!!!! Hey Lass how are you dear. No, no, no mamba24 is trying to do several things at once and is not doing any of them very good. But now that I have heard from Laker Lass herself suddenly everything is all good!

hey! you left me out! don't i count?

AND BEARS SCORE~!!!!!! BEARS 14 SEAHAWKS 0 ...YESSSSSSS!!!

@Mamba24

Thank you Sir! Oh, I'm a Lakerholic that's for sure. So far, I have missed a total of 3 games this season. And all of them because of stupid paperworks for my internship! LOL

Catch you all later!

All the way from PI
BRYLLE

BEARS SCORE!!!!!!!!! BEARS 21 SEAHAWKS 0...

hey! you left me out! don't i count? Posted by: chadamu | January 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM
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Don't you count? Hell Yeah you count. It is that dumb Mamba24 that does not count. You'll be there at the one hour before game time Roll Call sorry !


The Clippers are flying him, too high for their record. It's time for Kobe to pop their ballon!

Go Lakers!


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