What happened on Valentine’s night at Staples Center?
The “Battle for Los Angeles” turned into the massacre of the Lakers. How?
Well, the Los Angeles Lakers started the game with three turnovers and a blocked shot on their way to a 15-point canyon. A 15-0 score-line to start a game is not simply digging a ditch; it is jumping into a canyon. The Lakers did not score for the opening five minutes of the game and that set the tone of Clippers dominance for the evening.
After being mortally wounded at the start, the Los Angeles Lakers showed grit and determination to make the game interesting…for slightly less than a half. The Lakers clawed back from down 15 after five minutes to only trail by three points with three minutes remaining in the half.
They managed to do this despite some of the more perplexing and troubling officiating the Lakers have encountered all season: Metta World Peace was hit with a technical foul for celebrating following a made basket; Lamar Odom was given two free throws for being hit in the face by his own teammate; Antawn Jamison was hit with a technical foul for the showing emotion after a traveling call; and Dwight Howard was called for goaltending on a play that was definitely a block.
There were more questionable calls, but the aforementioned were the most glaringly obvious blown calls, and seemingly every call was against the Lakers.
The Clippers went on a bit of a run at the end of the first half and returned to the locker room leading by 12 points at the intermission.
If the Lakers wanted to keep the game interesting, they had to come out of the locker room with a purpose and jump on the Clippers early. That did not happen. Instead, the Lakers lost their composure and trailed by as many as 22 in the third quarter.
By the time the fourth quarter came about, the Lakers were sapped of all energy and hope. A 22-point lead turned into 28 with four minutes remaining in the ball game.
For the duration of the fourth quarter, the Laker Girls were the only home product performing up to standard.
“First of all, they beat us,” Head Coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game. “They kicked us. You know, our start, obviously was bad.”
Ultimately, the refs did not help the home team, but the Lakers lost Thursday’s game by not turning up for the first five minutes of each half.