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!