Lakers even the season series (1-1) by beating the Clippers 96-91 but more importantly avoid losing four straight.
Today's match up was physical and scrappy. I don't care if it's premature for me to say this but I'm officially calling this series the new heated rivalry among the Lakers and Clippers. Both teams call Staples Center their home but only one team has the home crowd.
Tempers flew right from the get-go and they never cooled down. In fact, with six technicals and one ejection, tonight's game reminded me of an NBA finals two years ago against those pesky Celtics.
Clipper Reggie Evans is just dirty. I had forgotten about his nut hunting ways. He must've been digging deep in McRoberts shorts to piss him off into an ejection tonight.
Let's revisit Evans doing Kaman dirty and the TNT aftermath:
The Lakers shot better than the Clippers throughout the entire game which had me questioning why the heck were they losing? Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. LAL had 16 to end the game and Kobe led the way with his game high 7. Kobe is currently 3rd in turnovers but stands tall leading the league in points with 573.
This L.A. team has been watched under very careful eyes and I believe the general consensus describing the Lakers weakness falls within the 4th guy needing to step up and peck away. Tonight, the 4th guy(s) was/were MWP, Goudelock and Fisher. Turnovers could've been yet another headliner for the Lakers 4th straight loss but MWP, Glock, and D Fish had difference making games and were the reason for tonight's victory outside the usual big 3 production (Kobe 20pts; Gasol 22pts/10reb; Bynum 19pts).
Metta World Peace may not have appeared to be impressive in the points category but made a huge impact with his hustle. Metta had 2 steals and a team high/season high 7 assists. His high energy and muscle was needed, especially in a game where Kimbo Evan's was causing a ruckus.
Andrew Goudelock was huge coming off the bench. He led the second unit with 14 points going 5-8 inside the arc and 2-3 behind it. This was by far the biggest game of his young career.
Derek Fisher waited until the 16th game of the season to score in double digits and since then he's done it in every other game. His double digit point contribution regardless if they're in the lower mark are vital to this teams winning record.
Photo credit: AP 2012-01-25