Jean Chu’s On the Clippers: Clippers manhandle Lakers, deliver perfect Valentine’s Day gift


Feb.14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) jump in the air in the second half of the game at the Staples Center. Clippers won 125-101. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to watch the Los Angeles Clippers play against the Los Angeles Lakers? The answer is obvious – none!   This was a game not to be missed whether you’re a Clippers or a Lakers fan. With the Clippers now relevant, this has all the makings for a real rivalry at last. The last two meetings between these two teams, the Clippers beat the Lakers both times, once convincingly, the second a nail biter at the end as the Lakers fought back from a 20 point 4th quarter deficit.  The game didn’t figure to be easy for the Clippers to beat the Lakers as they were coming off a long road trip, playing the second of a back to back, and facing a desperate Lakers team fighting for its playoff life. Kobe Bryant, in all likelihood, would not repeat his performance two nights earlier against Phoenix (shooting 1-8 with only 4 points).

In my opinion, with this healthy, Clippers team, they are virtually unstoppable and unbeatable. It’s great to see Chauncey Billups back and helping the Clippers with his outside shooting and vast experience.  Billups scored 19 points against the Houston Rockets Wednesday night and followed it up last night against the Lakers, pouring in 21 points.  Caron Butler has also been on fire lately, scoring 19 points against Houston and another 13 points against the Lakers.  Besides Chauncey and Caron scoring in double figures, the Clippers had four others players scoring in double figures: Blake Griffin had 22 points, Chris Paul 24 points, and DeAndre Jordan hit 11.

The Clippers immediately jumped out to a 15-0 lead finishing the quarter up by 14 at 31-17. Blake Griffin had an absolutely monster quarter, outscoring the Lakers team 18-17 on his own. They would lead the entire game never look back. Except for one second quarter push to cut the lead down to 3 points, the Clippers scored 11 straight over the last two minutes of the half to take a 14 point lead into the locker room. They then reached 101 points as the 3rd quarter ended, leading the Lakers by 21 points and essentially ending any hope the Lakers may have harbored. Kobe Byrant scored 20 points and Dwight Howard managed 18, but it was all for naught as the purple and gold were simply outclassed by their across the hall neighbors.  The Clippers played a great game and came out with a well-deserved win 125-101. Incidentally, this was the first time since the 1992-1993 season that the Clippers won their series against the Lakers, making the victory all that much sweeter.  For me, the best part of the game was seeing Blake on the bench clapping to a Rihanna  song while Kobe punched a chair and sat smoldering with a bitter look on his face.

Over the years, being a long time Clippers fan has been rough; hearing Lakers fans talk about their rings, banners and how they run LA has never been easy to take and most of us are still uneasy about celebrating our latest successes.  This season, the Clippers definitely have the better team and it is great to be a Clippers fan right now. At this point, the Lakers simply can’t pick on the Clippers and their fans can’t denigrate us this season anymore. The Clippers and their fans (of whom I’m a die hard) should be really proud that their record is now 39-17 while the Lakers are 25-29.

As a Clippers follower since 1992, I want to thank the Clippers for making my Valentine’s Day special by winning last night. It was the best Valentine’s Day present any Clippers fan can ask for and I was left with more joy than any box of chocolates can deliver. The Clippers are on a 4 game winning streaking going into the All-Star break.  Their next game will be at Staples Center against the San Antonio Spurs on February 21st.