Well, that didn’t go well. The Clippers beat the Lakers wire-to-wire, 121-106. I really don’t blame you if you stopped watching the game halfway through.
Luke Walton tried something new. Again. They trotted out an 11th different starting line-up with Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Julius Randle.
It didn’t work out very well. The Lakers fell into a 9-0 hole and were down by as many as 17 points in the first. The home team couldn’t stop Austin Rivers and Montrezl Harrell in that period. Meanwhile, the Clippers made nine of their first 10 shots. Clippers led the Lakers, 35-22, after one.
It wasn’t much better in the second quarter. There just didn’t seem to be any rhythm offensively. And when it came to defending, there just didn’t seem to be any fight on the switches. Randle did get going offensively and Kuzma caught a bit of fire at the end. But Brandon Ingram didn’t make a single field goal. The Clippers still led, 62-48, at the half.
While the Lakers got off to a quick start with Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle buckets, the Clippers withstood that little rally. The Clippers also overcame a multitude of turnovers as the Lakers still couldn’t stop their big opponents. By the way, this KCP attempt to go off the backboard basically describes the Lakers in the past week or so:
— Grant Goldberg (@GrantGoldberg) December 30, 2017
The Lakers were down 15 going into the fourth as they let Jawun Evans sail to the basket unimpeded before the buzzer.
The fourth was a more wide open type of game but while the Lakers couldn’t be stopped in transition by the Clippers, it was also the same the other way. It seemed like they were trading baskets and when you’re down by double digits, this was probably not the smartest way to go. It was nice to see Larry Nance, Jr. go off for a little bit if you’re looking for some sort of positive.
Again, for most of the game, the Clippers looked more energized. Lou Williams got 23 points; he was 13 for 15 from the line. Blake Griffin made a nice return with a 24-6-6 line. DeAndre Jordan helped with the domination of the boards with 16 of them. Austin Rivers scored 10 early points (13 overall) in the first before ultimately leaving the floor with an Achilles injury (get well soon, Austin). And the unheralded Montrezl Harrell went for 15 points and 8 boards in 15 minutes.
It took a while for Brandon Ingram to get going but he did end up with 18 points. Julius Randle, after some baffling playing time in the last few games, had 18 points in 29 minutes. Kuzma had a better shooting game and went for 13 points. And they got some strong bench punch from Jordan Clarkson (20 points) and Nance (16 points).
The Lakers didn’t do their job on the glass, being outrebounded by the Clippers, 49-35. We know the Lakers are porous on three-point shooting and they showed that again with a 3/19 (.167) clip. That hole early really set the tone for the team and it was just too hard for them to overcome, especially with the way they’ve been playing as of late.
Right from the start, this was the Lakers:
Probably the Lakers for the rest of the night. pic.twitter.com/faHrIhAfpz
— Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) December 30, 2017
Apparently, this team meeting they had earlier in the day didn’t seem to do much. It’s pretty obvious that they miss Lonzo Ball on the court as their offense has been out of sync (as opposed to in sync; it’s tearin’ up my heart) since he got hurt. All you can do is go on to the next game and hope you find some answers but at some point, you just start to feel nothing and that’s not a good feeling.
The Lakers have lost seven straight at Staples Center. Overall, they’ve lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine (11-23 record, blah). They go on the road against the powerhouse Rockets in Houston on Sunday to end the year. The Lakers have certainly had better years than 2017.
Anyway, Happy New Year. The ghost of Reggie Jordan haunts us.