NBA

Blake Griffin Takes Flight as Clippers Defeat Lakers, 115-104, in Coveted Hallway Series

Blake Griffin scored a game-high 36 points as the Los Angeles Clippers handed the Lakers another loss, 115-104, on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.

Basketball is a game of runs.

The Los Angeles Clippers opened the game scoring 17 straight points, before inner city rivals, the Lakers, rallied off an 18-2 run of their own to take the lead. 

Inescapably, the cream rose to the top and the Clippers dominated the second half to beat the Lakers, 115-104, in the fourth installment of the heralded Hallway series between Staples Center co-tenants.

The Battle for L.A. lived up to expectations as the Clippers commanded the pace and took control of the game early, but the scrappy young Lakers fought back, showing flashes of talent and inspirational play that could pay dividends in the years to come.

Yes, there were moments of immaturity as well, like when the Lakers sleep-walked through the first five minutes of the game, only to wake up to the snooze alarm going off, down 17 points. 

Inevitably, the team with the three NBA All-Stars prevailed in the end, as they continue to fine-tune their well-oiled machine before the playoffs.

Blake Griffin led the way with a game-high 36 points as he became the first player in franchise history to surpass 10,000 points as a Clipper.

Chris Paul carried the team as well, finishing with 29 points and 12 assists in his matchup with no. 2 overall pick in 2015, DeAngelo Russell.

Russell was awful on Saturday. Shooting 1-for-9 from the field for a paltry two points against Paul. Russell did not make himself available to the media after the game.

Rookie Brandon Ingram was one of the lone bright spots for the 16-time NBA Champion Lakers. Ingram had 18 points and Julius Randle chipped in 14. 

Local legend, David Nwaba, continued to reward the Lakers' front office for his new contract, scoring 19 points off the bench, but it didn't matter as the Lakers continue to lose, dropping 18 of their last 20 games.

One of the most storied franchises in NBA history is now left to cross their fingers and toes, as they hope that the Ping-Pong balls bounce their way and they're able to retain their top three pick for the upcoming NBA Draft.

"We need to try and finish out strong," said Randle after the game. "That requires energy and focus."

Despite the victory, everything did not turn up roses for the title-less Clippers. It may sound like a broken record, but the defense off the bench has continued to weaken the team. On Saturday, the reserves were a combined -61 against the Lakers, a problem that continues to haunt head coach Doc Rivers.

"I'm not going to talk about it, but I see it," said Rivers of his bench's effort on the defensive end of the floor. "We have to do better. We'll figure it out."

Up Next:

The Clippers will get a few days off before they host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at Staples Center. 

The Lakers will have no time to rest as they're back on the court tomorrow afternoon against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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