Kobe Bryant thanks Clippers for franchise's worst defeat

by Mar 7, 8:34 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their worst defeat in the storied history of the franchise on Thursday night, an ugly 142-94 drubbing from the Los Angeles Clippers on their shared home court.

As embarrassing as that might initially seem, injured superstar Kobe Bryant is seeing a silver lining in the beat down.

This continues Bryant's recent trend of shooting down any schadenfreude by suggesting that revenge is coming. It's always darkest before the dawn, and all that.

It's nice that Bryant can keep the faith like that, and hopefully he can sell Lakers fans on the same attitude. It's got to be getting tough for them, with the team suffering their first losing season since 2004-05 and their worst record since 1959-60 when the franchise played in Minneapolis.

Feature photo courtesy of Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports

Mar 20, 12:06 PM

Mitch Kupchak: D'Antoni has 'done a great job'

by Mar 20, 12:06 PM

Mike D'Antoni's tenure as the Lakers head coach has coincided with one of the worst two-year stretches in franchise history. The Lakers squeaked into the playoffs last year in the final two weeks of the season, and this year they'll miss the playoffs for just the fifth time ever. 

They've been dysfunctional both on the court and in the locker room. They've been decimated by injuries. In short, these aren't your parents' Lakers

But have they been poorly coached, or poorly constructed? To what extent is it fair to pin their failures on D'Antoni? 

There's always been some difficulty in assessing the value of NBA coaches. Four of the past eight Coach of the Year winners don't even have coaching jobs anymore, and one of the others is Mike Brown - who D'Antoni replaced in Los Angeles just five games into last season - and who's been largely regarded as a colossal failure in his return to Cleveland's bench. The ninth guy on that list is D'Antoni himself. 

Of the top 12 vote-getters for last year's award, five were either fired or let go in the offseason. That includes George Karl (who won the award) and doesn't include Mike Woodson (who finished third in voting but seems like he's been on the chopping block this entire season). Opinions vacillate wildly on these guys, and even for prominent analytic experts, trying to quantify a coach's impact is basically an educated guess.   

For his part, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak isn't ready to throw D'Antoni under the bus just yet. 

"I don’t want to get into that with those kind of questions,” Kupchak said, via Mark Media of the Los Angeles Daily News. "He’s done a great job and dealt with a year last year when he was here part time and has handled a ridiculous amount of injuries this year."

Of course, it was Kupchak who brought D'Antoni aboard in the first place, so it would be hard to incriminate his head coach without incriminating himself as well. In many ways, this is his mess. But don't expect that to matter when a decision has to be made about D'Antoni's future. 

"I don’t sit around and look into hot chocolate and say, 'Aw, I don’t know,'" D’Antoni said. "You just do your job, you do the best you can and hope you get some breaks along the way."

Well there, at least, is some reassurance. Doubt Mike D's coaching acumen? At least he doesn't sit around looking into hot chocolate. 

Feature photo courtesy of Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Reuters

Mar 12, 3:57 PM

Kobe on blowout loss to Clippers: 'Now I know what it feels like to be a Clippers fan'

by Mar 12, 3:57 PM

Kobe Bryant is out for the season, but that's due to a knee injury. His arm is just fine, and he's still able to throw heavy shade.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Bryant found himself able to put aside his frustration with the injury and take a jab at his team's Staples Center roommates and perennial younger brothers.

Bryant is, of course, referring to the Clippers handing the Lakers their worst loss in franchise history on Thursday, a 48-point drubbing that Bryant had earlier tweeted would serve as additional motivation.

Laughter is the best medicine, so keep cracking jokes, Mamba, and your knee will be fine in no time.

Mar 7, 7:47 PM

Report: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak met with Mike D'Antoni after 48-point loss to Clippers

by Mar 7, 7:47 PM

Those calling for Mike D'Antoni's head will be pleased to hear that Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak reportedly met with the head coach following the team's 48-point defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

However, it doesn't appear that D'Antoni is going anywhere just yet. For Kupchak, the meeting was meant as a way of checking in with the coach "to discuss whether there was anything that could be done to get the team back on track." 

Furthermore, Kupchak's first inclination was reportedly "not to make a coaching change" and the Lakers' management "is inclined to see how the team responds to the worst loss in franchise history, rather than make an in-season coaching change."

D'Antoni backed up the report ahead of Friday's game against the Denver Nuggets.

Firing D'Antoni, who has two years left on his contract, at this point in the season seems pointless. He's clearly not the man to lead the Lakers into their rebuilding future, but tossing an interim coach into the franchise's woes for the remainder of the campaign would accomplish nothing.

There's also the very real possibility that the Lakers will continue to struggle next season as they're not expected to splash on free agents until 2015, when a certain Kevin Love is up for grabs. As Ben Bolch of Lakers Now puts it, the Lakers "might as well drag D'Antoni along for the ride."

Mar 7, 1:38 AM

Clippers send Lakers to worst loss in franchise history

by Mar 7, 1:38 AM

Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Paul looked at DeAndre Jordan to his right and threw a no-look, right-handed scoop-toss alley-oop to Blake Griffin to his left.

Griffin reached all the way back to retrieve the pass in the air before throwing down a forceful one-handed slam to finish the 3-on-1 fast break.

The Clippers were sure off and running against their Staples Center co-tenants on Thursday night.

Griffin had 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and the Clippers handed the Los Angeles Lakers their worst loss in franchise history, 142-94, on Thursday night.

The Clippers, who routed the Lakers 123-87 on Jan. 11, held a 29-27 edge after a quarter of play, but outscored the Lakers 80-33 over the next two frames to turn the game into a laugher.

They held a 19-0 cushion in fast-break points in the second quarter and a 34-23 edge overall for the game.

Darren Collison netted a team-high 24 points, Paul supplied 13 points and 11 assists and Matt Barnes added 17 points, 12 boards, five assists and three steals for the Clippers, who have won six straight games.

Pau Gasol tallied 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who have dropped five of their last seven tilts.

Collison netted eight points during a 23-4 Clippers run to begin the second, including a triple to cap it and extend the margin to 50-30.

The Clippers outscored the Lakers 44-13 in the second quarter to take a commanding 73-40 lead into the halftime locker room.

Griffin's alley-oop dunk highlighted the third for the Clippers, who took a 109-60 advantage into the fourth, where they led by as many as 51.

Game Notes

The Clippers held a 64-33 rebounding margin and a 16-4 advantage on the offensive glass ... The Lakers shot just 39.5 percent (34-of-86) from the floor ... Jordan had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Feature photo courtesy of ROBYN BECK / Getty