Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/3/12
For years Los Angeles has been a city with two professional basketball teams pointed in opposite directions. The Los Angeles Clippers, for so long the ugly step-brother to the championship–bred Los Angeles Lakers, are obviously on the move up. The Lakers, well that's a different story entirely. As of right now, the Clippers are the better team in the City of Angels and it doesn't really look close after they took the Lakers apart 105-95 Friday at Staples Center. Looking young and spry and in tune with each other -- against the unsure, chemistry-deprived Lakers -- the Clippers (2-0) were in control throughout behind a balanced attack in which five players scored in double figures and their deep bench outscored their Lakers counterparts, 44-16. Chris Paul had 18 points and 15 assists to lead the way while Jamal Crawford added 21 points and Blake Griffin (15) and Caron Butler (14) also contributed. "We have so much depth," Paul said. "I mean, Jamal Crawford comes off the bench and scores 21 points, that's huge." The bench allowed the Clippers starters to rest through most of the fourth quarter and then return late to put a dagger into the Lakers. "There was just enough cushion to let us come in and close it out," Paul said. Kobe Bryant had 40 points for the Lakers but only Dwight Howard (13) and Pau Gasol (10) reached double figures as the Lakers started the season 0-3 for the first time since 1978. The loss prompted Bryant to facetiously say it's officially time to worry. One day earlier he told fans to remain patient. "We're hitting the panic button now," he said. "That's our job. That's what we're supposed to do. You can't just coast and assume things will fix themselves. You have to push at it." The Lakers played without injured point guard Steve Nash, who was sidelined with a lower leg contusion. But considering the Lakers lost their first two games in similar fashion with Nash in the lineup, it's doubtful even his presence would have made much of a difference at this point. Not with a bench that has not been able to produce thus far and an offense that has been turnover prone and confused through the first three games. "It's particularly hard for me because I'm not the most patient individual in the world," he said. "But you have to be. You have to stay persistent. You have to stay committed to what we're doing." NOTES: Nash was injured in the second quarter of the Lakers loss in Portland on Wednesday. By Thursday he was being listed as doubtful against the Clippers, the decision to sit him coming prior to the game. ... The Lakers next play at home against Detroit on Sunday. Nash's status is expected to be still up in the air. ... Lamar Odom officially returned to Staples Center for the first time against the Lakers as a member of the Clippers and was greeted with a mix of boos and cheers. ... Former Lakers forward Matt Barnes also made his first appearance as a member of the Clippers.
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