Clippers guard Chris Paul, left, has some words for Lakers forward Pau Gasol,… (Michael Nelson / EPA )
If nothing else, with the recent emergence and, perhaps, dominance of the Clippers, it gives Lakers fans a real reason to chant "Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!"
Because most of the Clippers are new to the area I thought I would help them out with a little history lesson. The Lakers own the city of Los Angeles. The Clippers just rent.
The Clippers are in real trouble now that they have Bill Plaschke in their corner. Listening to his advice on their conduct while playing the Lakers is absurd.
The Clips are doing fine, thank you, but the Lakers are still the best team in L.A.
Bill Plaschke, what are you talking about? Blake Griffin is supposed to lie there while Ron Artest has his legs wrapped around his neck? Chris Paul is supposed to enjoy a pat on his head? Come on, the Clips are showing some fight and that is good! And while you are at it, Bill, give some props to Donald Sterling and Clippers management for putting together an exciting, competitive team. They are not all the way there yet, but they are sure fun and a lot more watchable than that other team at Staples.
When one is dealing with a thug, anger, belligerence and hostility are necessary, and that is exactly what Metta World Peace gave the Clippers thugs on Wednesday night, along with some good play. It is a shame that the NBA and the referees have resorted to and allowed such brutish contests. The game was out of control, and it was obvious the Clippers were the early aggressors and brutes: pushing, shoving, hanging on people, and the refs let it go. The Lakers responded with roughness of their own, and finally the refs start calling the game correctly. Someone is going to get hurt seriously before it will stop.
The Lakers will continue to struggle until they establish one offensive system. Right now they are confused by trying to play the triangle, Mike Brown's system and Kobe's all at once.
You published a letter from a reader who blamed Mike Brown for the Lakers malaise. Nonsense. The Lakers have at least three major problems: 1) they have no point guard, 2) they have only one forward and 3) they still have the worst bench in the league.
Anybody with even a casual understanding of basketball knows that this is indeed the fault of one person — Jim Buss.
To talk of the "Lakers offense" is to discuss a contradiction in terms. It's Kobe and all but Bynum chucking it up from the cheap seats. It seems the only time the talented big men touch the ball around the hoop is after an offensive rebound.
Mike Brown reminds one of the local parks and rec guy who tosses the ball onto the court to his charges and tells them to "have fun."
The only thing worse than the Lakers' pathetic showing against the Heat and Magic was Mike Brown's rose-colored assessment of the offense.
Pau Gasol appears to hold Mike Brown's offense responsible for his ineffective play. I hold Pau responsible. Gasol's decline began in last year's playoffs, against New Orleans and Dallas, where he was muscled and pushed around and lost his rhythm and confidence. Mike Brown wasn't the coach then. What it looks like to me is that the many years of playing both NBA and international basketball have taken a toll on Pau's legs.
Pau has won two championships; other players in the league are hungry for their first. The difference shows.
There is no big mystery when it comes to the Lakers' inconsistent play. They don't have a modern NBA playmaking point guard. They have become a perimeter shooting team with occasional passes inside. Their perimeter shooting has been atrocious against the good teams in the league, but there is no one to create shooting opportunities in some other manner. They are a .500 team with no hope of reaching the Finals. End of story.
With his decision-making legacy thus far, Jim Buss is looking like a petulant Nero fiddling without a clue. Run Phil Jackson and Brian Shaw out of town, hire Mike Brown, demand Bynum over Howard because he played a part in drafting him. Proof that silver-spooned nepotism is never a good thing. Even still, Jeanie would have been a much better choice. At least she is smart enough to listen to Phil.
Take heart, Lakers fans. The 0-2 Florida trip may turn out to be a recruiting coup. By missing all those shots, Kobe and the Lakers showed Dwight Howard they can offer him something far greater than greenbacks ... put-backs!
Bob Daly told Frank McCourt when McCourt bought the Dodgers, "People were under contract, but they've been like a family and so if you want to make changes, do so with respect."