LA’s Dramatic Duo: Optimism Peaks After a Wild Wednesday For Lakers and Clippers

The Clippers and Lakers simultaneously took the court Wednesday night, and their matchups could not have been any more diametric.

The 28-11 Lakers donned their purple roadies for a barnburner in Oakland against the mediocre Warriors, while the developing Clips had a daunting undertaking: The 30-9 Heat.

Conventional wisdom would have the Lakers beating up on the Warriors in high-scoring fashion and the Clippers melting into a puddle of fear on the STAPLES Center court against "The Heatles."

There was nothing conventional about this night.

The Clippers showed no fear, scorching the nets for 44 points in the first quarter on 77 percent shooting. The 18 point lead they collected at that point would mark the high point of the game for L.A., as the Heat, like clockwork, made their methodical comeback.

To see them climb out of a few big holes lately has been fascinating to watch. Even when they're down by 18, you never count them out because of the talent they have.

Still, the 68 first-half points against the East's best record symbolize that this immature and undisciplined team is growing up.

Meanwhile, the Lakers were taking a while to get into gear in Oakland. The offense looked sluggish, scoring only 45 in the first half en route to an eight-point deficit. Kobe had five turnovers before halftime, and it looked like the same old Laker story: An undisciplined, disinterested, lackadaisical showing against a vastly inferior team.

As good team's do, and as the Heat did a few minutes earlier, the Lakers scratched back into the contest. Phil Jackson went to the well in the third, when Kobe and Pau Gasol combined on 6-10 shooting to cut the margin to six.  

That's when the drama started.

The Heat, trailing by 12 to start the fourth inside a raucous Staples, quickly cut the lead to two in less than six minutes. With no lead to fall back on, this game...

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