The Lakers win over the Clippers 112-104 on a night that saw the Celtics and the Spurs fall to their respective adversaries. The Celtics lost to the Bobcats 81-83 while the Spurs was outscored by the Trailblazers 98-96.
The game against the Clippers marked the fouth meeting between the tenants of the Staples' Center. With the victory, the Lakers also win their series against the Clippers, 3-1. This meeting also marked the return of Andrew Bynum from the two-game suspension he incurred because of a flagrant 2 foul committed against Michael Beasley of the Timberwolves.
Bynum continued his double-double performance with 12 rebounds and 11 points. He also came up with 2 assists and 3 blocks. Pau Gasol who earlier pledged 1000 USD for every shot he makes for the earthquake victims in Japan, came up with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal. The Black Mamba on his part, posted 37 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.
It was a game highlighted by several dunks in the first half, but with nary a defense. It was only in the final minutes of the fourth quarter when the Lakers put some pressure on the Clippers so that they can pull away for good. The Clippers had 16 turnovers for the game, and the Lakers 14. The Lakers outrebounded them too, 41 (Off. 11, Def. 30) - 34 (Off. 8, Def. 26)
With the win, the Lakers are now 14-1 since the All-Star break.
Kobe and Co. continue to hold on to the 2nd seed, but with the loss of the Celtics and the Spurs today, the current top 10 standings of the league underwent some changes:
- San Antonio 57-15 .792
- Chicago 52-19 .732
- LA Lakers 52 -20 .722
- Dallas 50 - 21 .704/ Boston 50 - 21 .704
- Miami 50 - 22 .694
- OKC 47 - 24 .662
- Orlando 47 - 26 .644
- Denver 47 -29 .603
- Portland 42 - 30 .583
- Atlanta 40-32 .556
The Lakers are almost tied with the Bulls in second place, while Dallas and Boston are now tied in fourth place. While the Lakers are no longer hoping to overtake the Spurs, Kobe and Co. would still like to overtake the Bulls for home court advantage in case of a finals encounter. As you can see, the seedings in the West has been quite the same these past weeks. No so in the East where we have seen the Celtics losing first seed to the Bulls. If the playoffs start today, the scenario will be as follows for Round 1
Spurs vs Grizzlies
Lakers vs. NOH
Mavericks vs. Trailblazers
OKC vs. Nuggets
Bulls vs. Pacers
Celtics vs. Knicks
Heat vs. 76ers
Magic vs. Hawks
The Lakers will be facing the Hornets on Sunday (PST) in another playoff preview.
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