Dunkologists might wince at this grade, especially after Griffin's posterization of Pau Gasol ... twice. But the Clippers could've used a little more garden-variety execution and better shot selection from Griffin. On the plus side, Griffin did quality work against Gasol defensively, even as the proceedings got chippy down on the block.
The Clippers' faithful and staff would like to see the team pick up the pace, but Paul is content to turn every high-court possession into an exercise in patience. Paul exquisitely distributed lobs, pocket passes and kickouts -- and he scored a timely layup in the final minute -- but he couldn't push the Clippers across the finish line.
The Clippers generally need at least one wing to catch fire from the perimeter to be able to compete. On Wednesday, Butler was that guy. The Clippers stationed Butler on the weak side beyond the arc, where he punished the Lakers in the first half for 23 points and kept the Clippers within shouting distance.
Where does Kobe want to ply his trade? The foul line extended and below, and that's exactly where he set up shop. Randy Foye, Butler and Nick Young each took turns guarding Bryant -- and that was only in the first quarter. The Clippers eventually sent double-teams at Kobe, but he still scored and made plays with ease.
Andrew Bynum may be petulant and hard-headed, but if he can have his way with opposing 7-footers along the baseline, the Lakers should gladly let him dabble in the occasional 3-pointer. Defensively, the Lakers were a bit slow, but some timely plays (like Metta World Peace's steal of Paul) provided their escape.