This Day in Laker History: December 14th

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Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 14, 1999
LA CLIPPERS 68 – LA LAKERS 95
DEFENSE SETS NBA RECORD FOR OPPONENT SCORING IN FIRST HALF AS LAKERS CRUISE

The 1999-00 Lakers were giving the NBA fits. At 17-5, with the NBA’s best record, the Lakers were offered a sacrificial lamb in the form of their crosstown rivals, the NBA-worst 5-16 Los Angeles Clippers. While the Lakers were most likely expecting a win, they probably weren’t expecting the Clippers to put on a display of futility that would rival anything to hit the hardwood.

Playing cellophane defense, the Lakers would force the Clippers into 18 turnovers and force the Clippers into foul trouble from early on. While the Clippers would stay steady with the Lakers for most of the first quarter, trailing only 17-16 with less than four minutes to play in the half, the Clippers would fail to keep up with the purple and gold juggernaut, as their one point deficit would turn to 30 before the end of the first half.

Future Laker Lamar Odom, then in his rookie year, would get into foul trouble early, forcing him to the bench and limiting him to two points on 0-for-4 shooting from the field for the game. Including the final 3:50 of the first quarter, the Clippers would go scoreless for almost 16 minutes from the field. The Clippers’ 19 points in the first half would set an NBA first-half record for fewest points scored, with their three points in the second quarter narrowly missing the NBA record of two points for fewest points scored in a quarter.

In line with the impressive defense of the Lakers was the starting lineup’s scoring efficiency. Laker forward Glen Rice would score 17 points in 18 minutes of play, and center Shaquille O’Neal would score 21 points and pull down 19 rebounds in only 29 minutes of limited action. With no Laker starter playing more than 30 minutes, the Lakers would cruise in the fourth quarter behind the play of their reserves for a 95-68 win over the Clippers, improving to an NBA-best 18-5 on the season.

Quote of the Night: “They came apart at the seams. I thought our defense had something to do with it…For a young team that’s as talented as they are, they can do a lot more… I expected a competitive game tonight.” – Former Laker coach Phil Jackson on the performance of the Los Angeles Clippers in a 95-68 rout at Staples Center. - From the LA Times, Dec. 15, 1999


James Cypert is a news and feature writer for LakerNation.com. When he's not perfecting his ill-advised Kareem-style sky-hook, you can find him on Laker Nation or follow him on Twitter.