On Valentine’s Day, the Lakers play the Clippers for the love of LA. The Lakers have lost both meetings against their Staples Center co-tenants this campaign, but the last game was a memorable contest for both teams.
For the purple and gold, Kobe Bryant scored 38 points on 25 shots, dunked on Chris Paul, and took on the challenge of defensively guarding CP3. Kobe played a great game on both ends, but the Lakers did not get the win.
For the Clippers, Paul scored 30 points—including the last eight for the Clippers—to lead the Clippers to victory.
Lakers’ center Dwight Howard scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the last rivalry game, and the emotionally-erratic big man enters Thursday’s game on a high. He scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds against the Phoenix Suns, and Howard was the central figure in the Lakers’ success against the Suns on Tuesday.
The Lakers practiced on Wednesday, and the Clippers played against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
The Clip-Show had its timing on-point by opening a double digit lead within the first eight minutes of the game and never allowing the Rockets to cut the lead to single figures for the remaining 40-plus minutes. Paul scored 10 points, passed six assists, and swiped two steals in the first quarter, and the Clippers did not require significant service from CP3 for the remainder of the night. He finished with 10 points, 11 assists, and three steals.
However, the Lakers were sending the Clippers roses by the end of the night because the Lakers suddenly found themselves in the ninth seed and only two and a half games out of the playoffs thanks to the Clippers’ win over current eight-seed, Houston.
The Lakers have managed to win eight of the last 11 games despite suffering injuries to Pau Gasol and Howard. They are winning games, and the Clippers are consistently blowing-out opponents—meaning it should be a good game.
After a couple of long tiring trips, the Lakers and Clippers are both staying in and spending Valentine’s Day with some quality alone time. The budding locker room rivalry may feature plenty of love in the crowd, but there will be no love lost on the court between these increasingly bitter rivals.