Clippers are kings of the hall

first_imgTo start the second quarter, the Lakers tried a strange lineup, and it didn’t work at all. Their only starter on the floor was 19-year-old Andrew Bynum, with Evans, Brian Cook, Sasha Vujacic and Shammond Williams. Cook, Vujacic and Williams had played a combined 16 minutes Tuesday in a loss the Denver. The Clippers pounced on that lineup with an 11-0 run to go ahead 39-22 with 8:47 left in the second quarter. Lakers coach Phil Jackson finally called timeout and sent in four new players, but the damage was done as the Clippers led 57-42 at halftime despite only four first-half points from Elton Brand. Brand finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and sixassists. Lakers coach Phil Jackson expressed concern about the officiating. “Kobe took a lot of shots, probably too many in a situation where we had to move the ball,” he said. “He wasn’t getting any foul calls.” Bryant’s scoring has been magnificent of late. He averaged 40.4 points in March and with Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor, is one of only three players to average more than 40points in a month. But it was the Clippers who had all the firepower on Wednesday. “We have more weapons than a lot of teams right now,” Kaman said. “But the question is if we can get all of our weapons firing at the same time.” The Lakers lead the season series 2-1 with their final meeting coming April 12. [email protected] (562) 499-1338 If there were any lessons learned at Staples Center on Wednesday night, one was that Kobe Bryant can’t always save the Lakers. The other was that only two weeks remain in the NBA’s regular season and the Clippers and Lakers are moving in opposite directions. Holding Bryant to 29 points on 13-of-34 shooting and only threeassists, the Clippers still nearly blew a 19-point lead, but held on for a 90-82 victory, their third consecutive. “He just missed some shots, man,” Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley said of Bryant. “Kobe’s Kobe. Some nights, it’s going to be like this. Some nights, he’s just not going to miss. I’m glad we caught him on a night like that.” The Clippers scored only 15points in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers never led in the second half. The Lakers pulled to within a point at 79-78 with 5:03left when Maurice Evans made a 3-pointer, but the Clippers responded with a 7-0 run to build their lead to 86-78 with 3:13 left, and the Lakers got no closer than four the rest of the way. “Our guys in the fourth quarter did a great job defensively, locking down,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “In the last twominutes, I thought we were particularly strong. That’s the way we need to play. That’s the way we’re capable of playing. That’s what we’ve been looking for, and that’s what we’ve been getting.” All five Clipper starters scored in double-figures. Corey Maggette led them with 22points, six rebounds and sixassists, and Cuttino Mobley, who guarded Bryant for most the night, had 18 points, sevenassists and five rebounds. Chris Kaman also had an outstanding performance with 17points and 14 rebounds. The Lakers have lost four of five, while the Clippers have won seven of eight. The Clippers are still in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference playoff race, remain onegame behind seventh-place Denver and moved 1 1/2 games behind the sixth-place Lakers. The Clippers got back to .500 for the first time since Feb.9. last_img

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