Dunleavy says Lakers will rule the West

Dillman is a Times staff writer.

Two games into the Hallway Series -- and thankfully, for the Clippers, the third won’t be until late January -- gave Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy a whole new level of appreciation for the Lakers.

The conversation was about Houston and the Rockets’ ability to challenge the likes of the Lakers and New Orleans in the West.

“Nope. I don’t know about the Hornets, but I think the Lakers should run the table,” Dunleavy said before the Clippers’ game against the Rockets on Friday night at Staples Center.

Not that he didn’t think that before the Lakers beat his team by 38 points in the Clippers season opener and 106-88 on Wednesday.

“The thing, to me, that has worked so well right now is they’ve been together,” Dunleavy said. “They’re a cohesive group defensively. I really like them defensively. I don’t know if I would have said that a year ago.


“A year ago, I’d say they were a really good team. I thought they got [Pau] Gasol and they’d win the West because I thought offensively they were good and they had a guy that at the end of the game could take the game over offensively.

“Right now, the mix of guys they have and [Lamar] Odom coming off the bench for them, giving the second unit a little more pop offensively. I think they’re pretty tough.”

Scoring woes

Dunleavy didn’t put all the blame squarely on swingman Ricky Davis, who averaged 2.6 points in his first five games.

“I don’t have the answer to it right now,” Dunleavy said. “He’s not shooting the ball great right now. . . . A part of it has been some of the early games, in particular, we were trying to run some plays for him, out of timeouts, and we didn’t run them. We didn’t run them right or we didn’t run them at all.”