By Shereen Rayan
The Agua Caliente Clippers beat the South Bay Lakers again for the second time this season 118-117.
The first half was dominated by the SB Lakers getting ahead by 15 at one point in the second quarter. The AC Clippers fought hard and came back to within three at the half 58-61. Tyrone Wallace scored 12 points and Scott Machado and Stephaun Branch both scored five in the second quarter, but it was Vander Blue who scored the most on both teams by dropping 14 before going into the half.
The AC Clippers weren’t ahead in this game until there was 8:30 left in the third quarter. Marshall Plumlee, the Lieutenant because he’s a National Guardsman, made a key block which turned into a Vitto Brown basket but Blue would hit a beautiful three to answer–all net.
That three-point response led to an immediate timeout by the Clippers.
Now Ahead by only one point, there was something Head Coach Casey Hill didn’t like.
The timeout worked because after Brown hit a turnaround jumper and a couple minutes later the Clippers were up by six, 76-71. But Agua Caliente learned a lesson; don’t foul Ivica Zubac because he hits his free throws. Another lesson they learned is if Zubac is set he can block your shot but if he’s not set you can have your way with the basketball.
Then J.J. O’Brien (SDSU) put on a clinic dribbling, shooting and passing. Coach Hill turned to his bench with an impressed look; it was classic. The score was still pretty even and the game was more of a back and forth. But then Thomas Bryant hit a beautiful three backed up by Machado’s effortless three, and the Lakers were back up 88-86.
Later in the fourth…
Blue got his layup blocked by Brice Johnson (Clippers), and Johnson felt it. He felt it so much that Vander had a nice chuckle with the fans courtside and the Clippers bench.
Then a fight broke out! Chippy chippy. Refs copped everyone out and called a jump ball. Let the game go on!
Wallace tied up the game with a jumper then a turnover caused by Brown turned into a three by O’Brien to take the Clippers up by three with 3:17 left, 109-106.
You cannot leave the Lakers’ Travis Wear open for three’s, another lesson learned by the Clippers. Especially down the stretch, but Agua Caliente did and Wear made them pay.
There were clearly more Laker fans in Citizens Bank Arena when Bryant got fouled while making his layup but he missed the extra point. He would end up scoring ten points in the second half to keep the Lakers in the game.
That left 6.2 seconds on the clock and the Clippers were up by one point 118-117.
The Clippers inbounded the ball Blue stole it immediately. He drove to the basket, missed, then about ten hands went up for the ball that decided to circle around the basket. The Lakers were incensed and felt it was goaltending.
The Clippers ended up beating the Lakers a second time this season.
The Clippers’ Wallace ended the night with an impressive stat line of 28 points, six rebounds, ten assists. Vitto Brown scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. In all, six Clippers ended the night in double figures including Brown and Wallace: Ike Iroegbu (13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists), JJ O’Brien (19 points, 7 assists), LaDontae Henton (11 points, 8 rebounds), and Tyler Roberson (13 points).
For the Lakers, Blue scored a team-high 24 points with four rebounds, six assists and two steals. For the first time this season, both young Laker bigs Bryant and Zubac played in this game. Bryant scored 18 points and racked up nine rebounds (nearly a double-double) and Zubac scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Wear came away with 18 points and Machado had a respecatable 13 for the Lakers.
Next up for the Lakers, the Salt Lake Stars on Dec. 30th, for the Clippers, they are back in action on the same night taking on the Texans.