Lakers Lead Big and Hold On to Win Against Clippers on Christmas Day

Rey Moralde —  December 25, 2016

This was a Christmas miracle in some way. The Lakers snapped their four-game losing streak as they beat the Clippers, 111-102.

And quite frankly, they didn’t look energized to start with as the Clippers, without their two big studs Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, played some crisp offense. It got J.J. Redick some open shots, who scored 12 in the first quarter. But the Lakers picked it up at the end of the first as they finished the period with a 9-2 rush.

It became messy in the second (especially at the end of the half), which somehow sparked the Lakers a little bit. The Clippers also became a little listless and the Lakers took advantage. They cut the deficit to three by the half.

Then in the third, the frontline got the Lakers going. They burst through with a 13-0 run and we saw some defense that we seemingly hadn’t seen in weeks. The Lakers would go on to have an overall run of 28-9 and would lead as many as 18 points. But I’m sure in the back of the fans’ minds that they would blow this lead.

And there it went as the Clippers rang off 13 straight points. But they never got closer than four points. D’Angelo Russell made a corner three. Then Lou Williams (14 points) got hot as he helped hold off the Clippers with some big buckets of his own. Nick Young put away the pesky Clips with one final three-pointer.

We got some balanced scoring from the Lakers as seven out of the nine guys that played had double figures (Mozgov and Young had 19 each). Brandon Ingram played a really good floor game where he was able to direct traffic for the offense. Russell played alongside Ingram late in the game and he did a good job playing off the ball. Thomas Robinson was one of the two players that didn’t reach double digits but his energy helped the Lakers within reach when they were trailing. Luol Deng had another double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds) to go along with his two steals and two blocks. Julius Randle returned to the line-up and went for 13-7-8.

The Clippers looked pretty good early before their offense somehow bogged down; this is where they really needed either Chris Paul or Blake Griffin to settle them down. While they had their moments where they were hitting shots, the Lakers did a good job forcing some turnovers (Clippers had 15 compared to the Lakers’ 13). When they weren’t switching wildly, they did a better job playing some positional defense in the second half. It helped that the Clippers were missing Paul and Griffin. The Clips also lost Redick, who didn’t play in the fourth due to a hamstring injury. The Lakers shot just under 48 percent while the Clips were under 44 percent.

The Lakers get their second win in December. Sure, the Clippers were undermanned but no one’s going to feel sorry for them; the Lakers will take any win. The Lakers didn’t play a complete game but at least, it ended well for them. As for what’s next, they’ll take on the grimy Utah Jazz on Tuesday. We know the Jazz would rather keep the game’s pace like they’re playing in quicksand. The next month will continue being tough for the team as Larry Nance, Jr. was diagnosed to have a bone bruise on his left knee. Injuries are never good. Hope he can recover sooner than later.

As for all of you readers, please stay healthy. Hope you guys had a Merry Christmas!


Rey Moralde

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18 responses to Lakers Lead Big and Hold On to Win Against Clippers on Christmas Day

  1. Sweet win against the Clips tonight. Seven players in double figures, Deng with a double-double and we out-rebounded them. I like Nick Young’s effort. He has been consistently good on both ends of the court this entire season.

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  2. Good win!!! A Festivus miracle!!!!!

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  3. This was a tale of two halves for Russell.  In the first half, he continued his no defense ways.  He lost his man after one or two switches and guarded the paint until the ball fell through the net.  Barry even commented on the absence of team defense and that the Lakers did not seem to know their assignments.  Then the second half happened and you could even tell who Russell was guarding.  He did a much better job of keeping his man within 1-2 arm lengths.  The wide open 3’s were harder to find for the Clippers and the Lakers were able to make their run.

    The 16 million dollar center outplayed the 21 million dollar center by making his 15 footers and drawing Jordan away from the basket.  Jordan sorely missed Paul on offense and was not enough of a factor on defense to make up for his lack of an offensive game.

    Ingram needs to be starting in place of Deng to give Russell more spot up opportunities.  Deng does not pass well enough to keep the offense moving.  Mozgov and Young do not pass and it leaves Russell and Randle as the only players who reliably move the ball.  That contributes to the stale offense to start games.

    Lastly, Ingram is really tall.  it is amazing that he has point guard skills and can look over the top of most players.

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  4. A Horse With No Name December 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Good post. Once again, Mozgov’ value to this team is best demonstrated when he matches up against true big men centers. Although he only got three boards, his ability to pull Jordan away from the rim was pivotal (ha). As for Russell, he appeared tentative in the early going; the tight wrap on his knee a clue that his knee issues are not over, and likely will not be resolved (hopefully) until the off-season.

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  5. All wins are big. This was Christmas Day against the Clips so especially this one.    We needed it and it will help morale going forward.

    Ingram is looking better and he is still my fav amongst the youngsters.   Somebody throw me some sunshine with regard to DAR cause I am just not seeing it.   Yea – I know about the injury, but this is not a good trend.   Last year was the coach,   this year the wheel.    Guys who start out like that do not usually end tearing up the league.

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  6. _ Robert _ Russell is a terrific spot up shooter and the only starter other than Young with 3 point range.  Using him as a point guard largely negates his strengths.  Except that he has the potential to be a respectable point guard once he learns how to read defenses better and stop forcing passes in traffic.  He is being force fed the point guard role and progress will take time.  A big part of the problem is the Lakers having a paucity of shooters.  The second half of the Clipper game should make you feel better about his ability to play defense.

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  7. The Clippers’ bench outscored the Lakers 54-33 and that was really disturbing. That said, the game was a wonderful Christmas present. 

    But it really brought home the realization of how much pressure the Lakers are under to stay in games when they can’t stop the other team’s best players.

    Imagine an NBA world where the other team only has an outright advantage in one of the five positions! Imagine an NBA world where the best player suited up is on your team once in a while. (Lou Williams, 23.90 PER).

    I know PER is not a perfect measurement of a player’s ability but look at the starters on the court yesterday:

    Jordan (LAC) 19.20

    Young (LAL) 17.07
    Redick  (LAC) 15.94
    Russell (LAL) 15.58

    Randle (LAL) 15.27
    Mozgov (LAL) 13.39

    Deng (LAL) 11.81
    Mbah a Moute (LAC) 11.30

    Felton (LAC) 10.63
    Pierce (LAC) 4.76

    This looks like an evenly balanced game. Two of the top three players on the court are Clippers, but they also have the bottom three players.

    You could argue that the game was decided by Mozgov (13.39 PER) shooting 5 for 7 from outside the paint, which pulled DJ outside and limited his effectiveness as a rebounder and rim defender.

    Now imagine if Paul and Griffin played instead of a sick Raymond Felton and the corpse of Paul Pierce:

    Paul (LAC) 27.14
    Griffin (LAC) 22.74

    Jordan (LAC) 19.20

    Young (LAL) 17.07
    Redick (LAC) 15.94
    Russell (LAL) 15.58

    Randle (LAL) 15.27
    Mozgov (LAL) 13.39

    Deng (LAL) 11.81
    Mbah a Moute (LAC) 11.30

    The best three players on the court are all Clippers, along with four of the top five. And their “worst” player is the best wing defender on the floor.

    I don’t look forward to the next Clippers game where they will have revenge on their minds.

    But this doesn’t apply just to the Clippers. Even the worst teams in the league all have at least one starter who is clearly the best player on the court when they play the Lakers:

    Orlando (Ibaka 18.65)
    Miami (Whiteside 23.25, Dragic 18.23)
    Philadelphia (Embiid 22.88)
    Brooklyn (Lopez 22.76, Lin 19.75)
    Minnesota (KAT 22.27, LaVine 17.14)
    Dallas (Barea 18.17, Barnes 17.58)
    Phoenix (Bledsoe 20.46)

    The Lakers are one great player (either a small forward or a center) away from being a solid playoff team, and two from being a contender.

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  8. A Horse With No Name December 26, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Parenthetic “hopefully” should have come last in that sentence! 🙂

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  9. LonShapiro What these stats don’t show is that the Laker players are much younger than their Clipper counterparts. They are so young that – if they improve at all – their PERs could change quite a bit in the next few years. The Clippers – well their players have either reached their ceilings or are in decline. 
    The Clippers should pound the Lakers in the next meeting, but the future would appear to belong to the Lakers.
    NOTE: The new CBA will probably make it harder to sign good free agents, so sharp trades and competent drafting is likely to work better in the future – something the Laker have shown they can do, but the Clippers have not.

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  10. Do any of you here “still” think Russell is a PG? Coz I don’t look at him as a PG at all. And I believe we’re better off if he was a 2 guard rather than a 1.

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  11. Darius:  it’s way, way, way too early to look ahead.  Not to early to wish ahead:  Lonzo Ball will look good, really good in forum blue and gold. 

    Go lakers

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  12. david__h Too bad we have no pick to get him. I’m not withstanding going 5-infinity to get another top 3 pick mind you.

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  13. wwlofficial ;

    warren:  can’t believe I just said that.  too much holiday cheering lately.
    Happy Holidays.

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  14. _Craig W LonShapiro Agreed, but there is no way to foresee their future growth. 

    Do you believe Russell and Randall could ever become as good as Chris Paul and Blake Griffin? If you do, then maybe the team could travel the same path as the Warriors did by drafting four starters (1 MVP, 3 All-Stars, plus Harrison Barnes, who is better than any current Laker starter).

    Based on what I’ve seen on the defensive end and with turnovers, I don’t think the youngsters will ever get to that level. They will become good players, maybe even make an All-Star game, but that is still a huge jump to being on an All-NBA team (top 3 in the league by position).

    Even though Lou Williams is having a terrific season, he is an undersized guard who can only dominate small portions of games. He is a great sixth man, but the Lakers would trade him in a heartbeat if they could get any of the guards who are below him in PER, including Wall, Lowry, Irving, Walker, Conley, Bledsoe, and Klay Thompson.

    If you believe Russell should get the chance to develop over the next two or three years, the Lakers still need a major upgrade at small forward and center by way of free agency for them to become a playoff team.

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  15. I’m not ready to make bold final assessments for a 20 year old player. He might be more of a SG but no way we can know for another couple of years.
    Keep in mind this offense is less reliant on a true PGA. So much ball movement it doesn’t really matter.
    I do think DAR would absolutely thrive in a heavy PnR tye offense where he can easily sink that elbow J or dish off to Nance/Black. He’s shown this in the past. He’s also shown his flashes in games where he just takes over by being aggressive and looking to create for himself first.
    Right now he’s just learning to blend in and I’m OK with that. I would rather see him look for his shot more than Lou. I just can’t help but cringe everytime Lou gets the ball because he only passes when the shot isn’t there rather than to create or move the ball.
    Ingram and DAR are legit. The perception is low on DAR because of the stupid video, but his numbers at his age (and eye test) compare favorably to NBA Allstars.

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  16. wwlofficial

    He is a “Combo Guard” but is definitely better at SG than PG. But the Lakers are dead set on making this kid the PG. He is too slow to play major minutes at that position on this level.

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  17. david__h  Lonzo Ball’s skill set is fantastic for some other team, but not for the Lakers.  Even if the Lakers had a draft pick to snag Ball, he is ill-equipped for this roster.  The Lakers need defensive minded players going forward.

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  18. I just wanted to mention that i think you should have someone proofread your articles before you publish them. I always seem to notice a couple minor mistakes that could easily be fixed and it would help the site seem more professional. I don’t mean this in a negative way; let’s call it constructive criticism. I would be happy to offer my services, free of charge. If you want to take me up on the offer, you can contact me at Cayucossurfer@gmail.com. if not, I hope you will have someone handle it for you. This is one of my favorite websites to visit, and the only thing that can make it better is perfect syntax and grammar. Thanks and go Lakers!

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