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Lakers identity crisis runs into confident Clippers, result is 0-3 Lakers

Nov 3, 2012, 3:16 AM EST

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers know who they are. They are Chris Paul’s team, Lob City, a lot of pick-and-roll, Jamal Crawford breaking guys ankles, Blake Griffin attacking the rim

The Lakers are… still trying to figure it out.

Through three games the Lakers have tried on more personalities than an 13-year-old girl. And none of them have fit.

The result of all that is when the Lakers met the Clippers Friday night that the Clippers won convincingly 105-95.

Another game, another night where after a loss everybody in the Lakers locker room was preaching patience — something the fans in Los Angeles are displaying little of.

“(Being patient) is particularly hard for me because I’m not the most patient individual in the world, but you have to be,” Kobe said after the game. “You have to stay persistent, you have to stay committed to what you’re doing and just keep on trucking.”

Lakers fans are ready to back that truck right over coach Mike Brown and his Princeton offense, but the issues are more complex than that. And they are all interconnected.

With Steve Nash out for the night and Steve Blake at the point, the Lakers actually seemed to run a better spaced offense early on because they knew it was going to be Princeton every time down (no wondering if Nash wants to do pick and roll). Still, they seem to think and not react, and often the result is odd floor balance and it seems to bring big men away from rebounding positions a lot.

That spacing didn’t slow the turnovers or bad decisions that have plagued the Lakers since training camp. And as they did against Portland the Lakers started to abandon their offense as they tried to climb back in. With Dwight Howard in foul trouble most of the first half the Lakers tried some other things on offense — Metta World Peace decided to be a three-point shooter and went 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Chris Paul knew exactly what he wanted to do — he continually came off the high pick then when Gasol showed out to stop him he pulled Gasol away and isolated himself against the Laker big man 23 feet from the rim. Then he carved up Gasol (who started to look worn out) and the Lakers as a whole. CP3 finished with 18 points and 15 assists — he had more assists than the entire Lakers team.

Paul and the Clippers were playing with confidence, like a team that believes it can be a contender.

A few minutes into the first quarter the Clippers went on a 16-6 run, the Clippers led and their depth allowed them to keep a comfortable lead most of the game. Jamal Crawford had 21 off the bench to lead the Clippers.

With the Lakers needing points Princeton was kicked to the curb and it became the Kobe Bryant show — he had 40 points on just 24 shots and continues to be very efficient this season. But he had to overcome 20 team turnovers and a defense that continued to not get a lot of consecutive stops.

The Clippers were smart with their double-teaming, doing a good job of taking Howard and Kobe and making them give up the ball, only to find guys were not in the right space to get the pass.

“It’s hard when only a couple of guys really know the offense,” Lakers backup forward Antawn Jamison said after the game, although he seemed to be one of the culprits as he seemed to float through the game not looking for his shot.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have a bench that has been huge for them — Crawford, Erick Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom all had quality nights. Odom may have had the shot of the night, a 30-foot three up against the shot clock.

“I think our bench, we had some timely shots,” Paul said. “We had some timely shots. L.O. hit a big one, Matt hit a big one off the glass. But once again, our bench stepped up for us.”

That bench is giving the Clippers confidence. Chris Paul is giving them confidence. The 2-0 start to the season is giving them confidence. The Clippers know they are good and are out to prove it.

The Lakers, they are still preaching patience while they try to figure out who they are.

  1. abchome - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:37 AM

    Jamal Crawford is fantastic! He should do what he did this summer 20 years earlier.

  2. chicagofan - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:54 AM

    Mike Brown and hs Princeton offense sucks for this team, he had better figure this out before he loses his job. Kobe thrives in triangle offense and so would Howard and Nash. To reject the triangle trying to prove you are different from Phil Jackson, could be a fatal error by Brown.

    • mytthor - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      The Princeton is pretty similar to the Triangle, both suck for Nash. Of course they haven’t successfully run it, yet.

  3. eventhorizon04 - Nov 3, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    The good
    Kobe looks rejuvenated – he’s been scoring a ton of points, but he’s been incredibly efficient this season
    Starting to see signs of vintage Dwight Howard – he had an explosion on offense last game, and this game, he had 5 blocks
    Offense scored 95 points without Steve Nash

    The bad
    Lakers are still allowing on average around 105 points per game, which is bad for a team that (in theory) is trying to be defense-oriented
    20+ turnovers has been the new norm for the Lakers
    Kobe was getting most of his points in the second half in iso, so while it’s good that he was efficient, it’s bad that he had to break away from the Princeton offense to make things happen
    Bench combined for 16 points

    The ugly
    0-3 start, after losing to a former 7th seed without its only All-Star (Mavs), a lottery team featuring a rookie point guard (Trailblazers), and a legitimate contender/rival (Clippers).
    Pau Gasol had 2 shot attempts in the second half
    Howard finished with almost as many free throw attempts (10) as total points (13)
    Jodie Meeks didn’t even play, as Brown relied on Kobe (43 minutes) to keep the Lakers in the game. That’s not sustainable over an 82 game season.

    • crtzinc - Nov 3, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      The negatives are apparent but what bothers me is the lateral movement on defense – there is none at this point for anyone besides Dwight and he is not even 100%. Turnovers are fixable and chemistry will develop on offense but when the opposing player is always getting by on first burst that’s an issue that Dwight can’t cover up constantly. The most disturbing thing is that Mike Brown was hired for his defensive expertise and this season his sole focus is on that because he has nothing to do with the offense. Well, the Lakers are not playing even good D and the message Mike Brown has been stressing this year and last is not hitting home. That’s the issue that I don’t see fixable with this coach. Dwight will have to take it upon himself to coach this D and rip into his teammates for it to succeed.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      Well said, eventhorizon04. A true Lakerfan can appreciate your post. Very objective. No hate. No homerism.

  4. rickyspanish - Nov 3, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    eventhorizon04

    DAMN! Way to break it down homeboy! I like the good, bad and ugly thing you did, please keep it up, it was more interesting than the post itself. Kudos, and kudos again.

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      I’ll co-sign on that. Keep it up eventhorizon04.

      • paulhargis53 - Nov 3, 2012 at 4:14 PM

        Malt: I am going to go with:

        KGbigticketlover.

        most of the ones I wanted to use, you wouldn’t have agreed to…lol
        Let me know if you’re ok with it.

  5. BigBeachBall - Nov 3, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    dude, you got beat by the clippers…..

  6. bleed4philly - Nov 3, 2012 at 5:39 AM

    The NBA is at it’s best when the Lakers have a great offseason and start 0-3.

  7. addict2sport - Nov 3, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Makes losing CP3 like getting kicked in the gut all over again

  8. metalhead65 - Nov 3, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    not a laker and not a fan of it’s going to take some time train of thought. when a team makes the moves they did in the off season you expect more from them now .I am sure they will get it together sometime in the season but spare us the it takes time whine. you guys are getting paid a ton of money and had a exhibition season to to figure it. shut up stop your whining and play like the professionals you are supposed to be.

  9. Gordon - Nov 3, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Supergirl and a bunch of old farts are struggling to win games? Shocker!

  10. omniusprime - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Screw Patience! We Laker fans want victories now, not sometime in the future. We’re expecting big things with this All Star lineup. That Princeton offense was designed for a crappy team with little talent, you know Princeton! Of course that dimwitted Clown Brown would pick that loser offense, proving he is the most ignorant coach in the NBA. A truly intelligent coach would have retained the Triangle since the team already knew how to play that offense and mixed in something new and different for a change of pace and so teams couldn’t zero in on the Triangle all the time. Where is Tex Winters and Phil Jackson when we really need them?

    I didn’t even bother to record the game since I knew ahead of time the Lakers would stink it up. I stopped watching from time to time in the second quarter, better to watch Bill Maher and the Cal-Washington football game. Dump the loser Princeton offense, fire Clown Brown and please replace Steve Flake with Derek Fisher ASAP! Wake Up Lakers!!!

    • controlledchaos123 - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:56 AM

      I’m trying to recall if the Princeton offense has ever really worked in the NBA. I know Eddie Jordan ran it in both Washington and in Philly during his two head coaching stops, and in both cases it eventually flopped. He had a small amount of success in it with the Wizards in the mid-2000’s but it never got them anywhere in the playoffs.

      Granted the Lakers have a ton more talent than both the Wizards and Sixers had, but it just doesn’t seem to be an offense you’re going to win a championship with.

      • tfoz5150 - Nov 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        I agree. As a sixer fan the year with Eddie Jordan and his “Princeton Offense” was horrible. There was so much hype around that damn offense yet my lasting memory of that year was Elton Brand always looking pissed off, like he wanted to kill Eddie Jordan.

  11. magicbucs - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    The ORLADO MAGIC have 9 new players on its roster, new coach, new offense and defensive schemes. With no superstars or egos. Look how they played. You can say all that with a lot of teams with a lot of new players. How come all those other teams are playing better than the fakers like the MAVS and BLAZERS. Hmmm there’s no excuse. The fakers suck.

    Wheres lakerluvr??? Hahaha
    GO MAGIC!!! the magic defense is better without Dwight than the fakers with Dwight. Just saying.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      Agreed in principle. Coaches have the ability to ruin things despite the talent.

      Good on your Magic, hope they end up back on top with Howard’s departure a blessing in disguise.

      But fakers? Really now. There’s nothing fake with 16 banners as opposed to what your team has. How many? Oh yeah. Zero. You think you”re still alive by the time the Orlando Magic has 16 banners?

  12. magicbucs - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    The ORLADO MAGIC have 9 new players on its roster, new coach, new offense and defensive schemes. With no superstars or egos. Look how they played. You can say all that with a lot of teams with a lot of new players. How come all those other teams are playing better than the fakers like the MAVS and BLAZERS. Hmmm there’s no excuse. The fakers suck.

    Wheres lakerluvr??? Hahaha
    GO MAGIC!!! the magic defense is better without Dwight than the fakers with Dwight. Just saying.

  13. magicbucs - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    The ORLADO MAGIC have 9 new players on its roster, new coach, new offense and defensive schemes. With no superstars or egos. Look how they played. You can say all that with a lot of teams with a lot of new players. How come all those other teams are playing better than the fakers like the MAVS and BLAZERS. Hmmm there’s no excuse. The fakers suck.

    Wheres lakerluvr??? Hahaha
    GO MAGIC!!! the magic defense is better without Dwight than the fakers with Dwight. Just saying.

  14. magicbucs - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    The ORLADO MAGIC have 9 new players on its roster, new coach, new offense and defensive schemes. With no superstars or egos. Look how they played. You can say all that with a lot of teams with a lot of new players. How come all those other teams are playing better than the fakers like the MAVS and BLAZERS. Hmmm there’s no excuse. The fakers suck.

    Wheres lakerluvr??? Hahaha
    GO MAGIC!!! the magic defense is better without Dwight than the fakers with Dwight. Just saying.

  15. magicbucs - Nov 3, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    ORLANDO* lol…… The look on Dwight’s face as the game was ending was priceless. He was probably thinking “should of stayed in Orlando” or maybe he’s already thinking of not re-signing with the fakers. Either way i love KARMA. I know it’s still very early in the season but I’m loving it.
    I said it before that the fakers perimeter D is worse than the magics the last few seasons when Dwight was calling out his players for lack of D. Time to call out you new teammates Dwight. They suck!

    • southbeachtalent - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      If you repeat it enough it will come true.

  16. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    way to get a point across, big guy.

  17. rodge1 - Nov 3, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Lakers best bet is to take their time learning the new offense and hope Kobe retires soon so they can use his contract-money to get decent bench players.

  18. mungman69 - Nov 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Why not let Nash play his game? The rest should follow.

  19. goldmember21 - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    This year is a wash… Next year they’ll win a game haha!!

  20. money2long - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    it’s easy for me to have patience as a fan from afar.
    however, if i had paid for tickets to all these losses, i’d be singing a different tune.
    i think LA needs that first win to get rolling. and once they can string together back-to-back wins, i think things will start to open up for them in a positive way. that doesn’t mean they will start rolling through the competition though. they have the personnel to do so, but they are still a new team. i just hope this season won’t be too much of a roller coaster. i am not flinching one bit because i have faith they will figure things out by season’s end. LA is looking at the bigger picture, the post season. we’re using this time early on to work out the kinks.

    go Lakers

    • loungefly74 - Nov 3, 2012 at 11:16 PM

      exactly. these were major moves made…major patience is needed.

  21. cpcfan - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    I’m glad everyone is avoiding the subject of the Clippers here. Even with the horrible VDN coaching, the substitutions look good, I was sweating bullets that he left the second team out there till the 5 minute mark in the 4th but even they handled the Lakers starters with exception of Kobe doing his usual heroics..Great job Clips!

  22. shockexchange - Nov 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    What’s the over/under on MWP’s prediction of 73 wins?

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