JJ: So, we’ve been doing these LIVE game blogs, and people seem to like them, so let’s get two barrels on this one… Hey Zoomy! You ready for some L.A. basketball?
RZ: Is Greg Oden ready for some IcyHot? You know it! Gotta love opening night for your favorite NBA team, and playing the Lakers is the cherry on top – though not after that shellacking they laid on Portland last night. More than anything I’m excited just to see how the new-look Clips play together. We know what the Lakers are capable of but no one’s quite sure what to make of the Clips yet. Hopefully we find out tonight.
JJ: You’ll find out, but I don’t think you’ll like the outcome. Here we go Lake show! Let’s start another season sweep of the Clips!
RZ: Poor J, seems like you’ve been duped into believing that this year’s team will be anything like last year’s – which basically consisted of Chris Kaman and a blindfolded, one-legged Elton Brand. We know what B-Did, Camby, Kaman and Cat Mobley are going to give us, so let’s see whether Eric Gordon is up to speed and how much Al Thornton has improved (and for the love of God, bench Tim Thomas). Go Clips!
JJ: They should really do a different floor when these teams play. They’re both the home team Like, a floor morph. Pau! 4-0 Lakers
RZ: Would you have suggested that if this were a Laker home game? Doubtful. Hmm… it took just over a minute for Baron to ditch the offense and start chucking 3’s. He’s 0-2 so far. 9-4 Lakers
JJ: You’re right Zoom, Thomas is maddening. Two missed FT, a three-pointer, then a stupid foul… Kobe takes his first shot of the night, and still… 16-10 Lakers
RZ: It’s almost comical how long the Lakers are. Odom, Gasol and Bynum aren’t that intimidating when they’re just names on paper but they look a hell of a lot scarier when standing next to Chris Kaman. Thornton looks real good so far. Even though Baron can be out of control at times, he creates opportunities out of nothing, and we did not have that last year. He’s already made four pretty interior passes and I think we’ll eclipse last year’s win total by December. Spotted: Billy Crystal and Joe Torre courtside. That makes them both Clipper fans, right? 18-16 Lakers
JJ: Torre’s a fan of winners, Zoom. Don’t get it twisted. For the Lakers, it’s becoming obvious that Kobe has changed his game to better fit this squad. But, the Clips can run with this Laker lineup. Can the Clips play the half court game with this lineup? Can they run with the Lakers second unit?.. Out of the timeout, here comes L.O.!
RZ: “Here comes L.O.”? The same L.O. that has Laker fans calling for his head? I give you until halftime before you demand a trade, and the end of the 3rd quarter until you nominate him for MVP. Laker fans are so finnicky (sp?). Al Thornton Al Thornton Al Thornton Al Tho…
End 1st 30-27 Lakers
JJ: I just really like L.O. coming off the bench. It almost forces him to look to go to the rim in order to get involved, and L.O. is so much better when he’s aggressive… ARIZA!!! He did not have that shot last year… P.J. looks so different without facial hair. What’s up with that?
RZ: Tirico comments on the Lakers’ depth and there’s no denying that they’ve got guys on their bench that could start on other teams. I think their ballboy led the Bobcats in scoring last year. That’s scary. The Clips are hanging real tough though with good D and careful shot selection. If the Lakers want to run, well that’s just fine with us. Clippers take the lead on a monster dunk from Thomas, though I stand by my disdain for him. He justifies my hatred by picking up a technical foul.
RZ: J.J. is heading out the door, but on his way out he requests that I inform you that the Lakers’ second unit can be too anxious to run the fast break, and it is “another one of the team’s weaknesses,” proving my theory that Laker fans are incapable of love.
RZ: Oy, that’s what a 9-0 Lakers run looks like? Eric Gordan makes a sour debut to the NBA by picking up an offensive foul and letting Sasha nail an open three. Tim Thomas tries (poorly) to create his own shot, and Ariza throws one down on the other end. Timeout Clips.
JJ: As a So-Cal kid that grew up watching UCLA, it’s a joy to watch Jordan Farmar and Baron Davis go at it as they represent both L.A. teams. On a related note, why is Tracy McGrady wearing a Trevor Ariza jersey and why hasn’t anyone noticed?
RZ: The Lakers’ defense tightens and their offense opens up – the Clips stand little chance. If this is where they start to pull away from us, then so be it. The Lakers are playing really well, and when they do that they’re one of the two best teams in The Establishment. Remember, the Clips return two (2!) players from a year ago so, you know, Game One is not that big a deal. At this point, let’s take our time, run the offense and learn to play together.
HALFTIME 59-44 Lakers
JJ: That’s what it looks like when the Purple & Gold takes it to another level! Still, I am so much more pleased with the defensive effort than anything offensively. Game and 1/2 in, and P.J.’s rotations look stellar.
RZ: We’re down by 20, the offense can’t convert in the halfcourt and our rookie looks like, well, a rookie. Through all of this, I can smile. Hubie Brown is an absolute gem, and I love the young man.
JJ: Hubie definitely knows what Pau is capable of.
RZ: Hubie knows all!
JJ: This is getting out of hand. Kobe, Bynum, and Fisher in double digits, and L.O. and Gasol playing well together. Have I mentioned we look good! 72-50 Lakers
RZ: Slow your roll, Buh. The Lakers have just one new addition to their roster and the Clippers have just two holdovers from last year’s roster. Granted, this game gives new meaning to ugly. So let’s explore a new topic: Why in the *%&# would the Lakers not re-up Andrew Bynum by the Friday deadline? By not doing it, they basically allow him to become a restricted free agent in 2010, setting themselves up to match a ridiculously high offer sheet from another team. Are they worried about going over the cap? Are they waiting to unload Odom first? Whatever. Take a lesson from the New York Knicks School of Management and give him as much as he wants! Right now!
JJ: You’re right, Zoomy. We’re kinda painting ourselves into a corner by not locking him up in the existing contract. But that doesn’t mean we can’t draw up a new one at the end of the year. The Buss Family has made it known (by not getting Jason Kidd, or anyone for that matter) that Bynum is the future. Let’s see if he can play a full season before we buy him a new house.
RZ: Allow me this garbage time moment to wax futuristic about rookie guard Eric Gordon. He hasn’t showed it tonight (because he hasn’t played much, and when he has he’s clearly looked out of place and confused), but Gordon is probably the 2nd best pure scorer in this year’s rookie class. His stroke is so smooth it should come with a Jaguar badge. His athleticism is more than any 6’3″ player should have available to him. He was pegged as the next great scorer when he was a junior in high school, and showed flashes of that potential as a freshman at Indiana last year – playing with a sprained wrist in the second half of the season. I don’t mean to get overhyped about a rookie (God knows I’ve predicted big things for too many duds), but I see big things in his future, and hopefully they will occur in blue and red.
JJ: 101-68…. that is all.
RZ: [email protected]^# You! (ESPN is showing Donald Sterling at court side)… 115-77
FINAL: Lakers 117, Clippers 79
JJ: I want to see this match up again when the Clips have gelled a little… but, boy do the Lakers look good!
RZ: Indeed, ya’ll do look very good. Especially that second unit. We, on the other hand, have a lot of work to do. I still think we can be a bottom-tier playoff team, seeing as B-Diddy didn’t have his greatest showing, Camby wasn’t playing and Tim Thomas was allowed to touch the ball. It’s a long season, and I couldn’t be happier now that it’s finally here. Thanks everyone for participating. See you next time!