LOS ANGELES — The Clippers know they can never undo their past. All those miserable losing seasons, all those embarrassing losses to the Lakers, are an undeniable part of their history.
But this is a new era, certainly for the Clippers. For the Lakers, it might be rock bottom.
Or close to it.
Thursday night’s 142-94 Clippers win was epic. Their 48-point margin of victory was the largest in franchise history; the margin of defeat was the worst in Lakers history.
In their past two meetings, the Clippers have dispatched the Lakers by a combined 84 points.
Fortunes have reversed. The Clippers are soaring, the Lakers are sliding irreparably toward the draft lottery. But the Lakers are still a storied franchise, one with 16 NBA titles and countless memorable moments. They won’t surrender their hold on L.A. willingly.
"During the game, the fans were yelling, ‘It’s still a Laker town,’ " Clippers guard Chris Paul said. "It is. No secret. But we just have to worry about us and keep playing."
Make no mistake, the Clippers gain a sense of pleasure beating their Staples Center co-tenants. But their focus now is less about who they beat and more about how they win, whether itâs by a little or a lot.
They pressed the Lakers all night, pushing their advantage with impressive scoring stretches. After falling behind by seven points late in the first quarter, they outscored the Lakers 60-20 to take a 73-40 lead at halftime. They extended it to 49 points at the end of the third quarter and in the final minute of the game pushed the lead to 51.
Lakers ’embarrassed’ in worst loss in franchise history
As defeats go, this one was beyond humbling for the Lakers.
"I thought we did a good job pushing the lead," said Clippers guard Darren Collison, who had a game-high 24 points. "It shows that we have growth. Regardless of who we’re playing, we thought this was about us."
It sure wasn’t about the Lakers, who shot 39.5 percent for the game and were out-rebounded 64-33. Their undoing was the second quarter, when they were outscored 44-13 and missed 15 of 20 shots.
"We really felt like if we could not turn the ball over and take them out of fast breaks, then it would be on our defense," coach Doc Rivers said. "I think it’s four or five games in a row now that at some point our defense has kind of clicked on. That was the difference, really.
"Then, once we get out running, we’re pretty good."
The Clippers had seven players score in double figures. Considering that they were missing three players because of injuries — amal Crawford, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick — it was impressive that they didn’t miss a beat offensively.
Nor did they ease up. Even with the starters sitting the entire fourth quarter, they pushed forward. It didn’t matter that they had the game well in hand by halftime.
"That’s all we stress in the huddles and the locker room," Paul said. "Don’t play the score because it’s about us. We’re trying to build for something. Whatever group is on the floor, we have to be us. That way it becomes second nature."