Clippers 107, Lakers 91
The good news for the Lakers? The regular season is over and
it’s playoff time.
The bad news? They were hit with another injury in an ugly
Steve Blake scored 23 points as part of his first career
triple-double, Chris Kaman added 22 points and the Clippers beat
the Lakers 107-91 Wednesday night.
Blake finished with 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the Clippers,
who ended with a 29-53 record to miss the postseason for the 15th
time in 17 years. Interim coach Kim Hughes’ contract ends June 30,
and he doesn’t know if he’ll be back next season.
“It was a great way to end the season,” he said. “We were a
well-balanced team all the way around.”
Lamar Odom led the Lakers with 21 points despite being in foul
trouble. Pau Gasol had 18 points and 17 rebounds, and Shannon Brown
added 18 starting in place of Kobe Bryant.
Bryant sat out for the fourth time in five games to rest several
injuries, including a swollen right knee and a broken finger on his
right shooting hand. Andrew Bynum missed his 13th straight game
with a strained left Achilles’.
Sasha Vujacic didn’t return after spraining his right ankle in
the second quarter. A Lakers spokesman said it was severe, although
X-rays were negative. He’ll have an MRI on Thursday. He left the
locker room on crutches and was driven off in a cart.
“He could miss the first round,” coach Phil Jackson said.
He said Ron Artest twisted an ankle, although Artest downplayed
it afterward, saying he didn’t remember much about it – including
which ankle he hurt.
The Lakers finished with a 57-25 record and the No. 1 seed in
the West. The defending champions have lost six of 10 heading into
the playoffs. They will face No. 8 seed Oklahoma City beginning
Sunday at Staples Center.
“I said at the start of the season if we don’t win 60 games,
we’ll be disappointed, and we’re disappointed in our team’s effort
at the end of the season,” Jackson said.
He also wasn’t happy with how the Lakers played in the second
“We really pooped our pants and looked it out there,” he
Baron Davis sat out for the Clippers with a sprained right
wrist. He was joined by Eric Gordon (viral infection) and Drew
Gordon (sore right knee).
Travis Outlaw added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers,
who had seven players in double figures. They opened the season
against the Lakers, losing 99-92, but tied the season series
The Clippers dominated the fourth quarter, hitting four
3-pointers – three by Blake – to pull away in what was a tight game
until early in the third.
“Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time,” Blake
The Lakers trailed by three to start the third quarter, but were
outscored 15-5 as the Clippers built the first of two 13-point
leads. From there, the teams each scored 11 points to close the
period, with the Clippers ahead 78-65.
“The right way to end the season is to go out with a win,”
Kaman said. “There’s no better place to do it than at home against
the Lakers with our fans here.”
Neither team led by more than five points in the first half. The
Clippers led by that much over the final minutes of the second
quarter until Josh Powell’s basket cut the Lakers’ deficit to 52-49
at the break.
NOTES: Bryant hugged Clippers fan Penny Marshall on his way out,
his eyes hidden behind sunglasses. … Since 2003-04, the Lakers
are 23-26 without Bryant in the lineup. … Rasual Butler was the
only Clipper to appear in all 82 games, making him the first to do
so since 2003-04. … Jordan Farmar hit that mark for the Lakers
when he entered with 1 second to play in the first half. … The
announced crowd of 20,044 was the Clippers’ fifth sellout.