Without LeBron James and the young core, Alex Caruso and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back situation.
Although the Lakers are already eliminated from playoff contention, the Clippers were trying to move up to the fifth spot in hopes of a more favorable matchup.
With the Lakers and Clippers going back and forth to begin the game, JaVale McGee scored eight of the team’s first 12 points including three dunks.
Along with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s seven points, the South Bay Lakers checked in and provided consistent energy to give them a 35-30 lead.
Unfortunately, in the second quarter, the Clippers regained their lead after Caruso’s lazy pass gave them a 38-37 lead.
While the Lakers battled, Garrett Temple surprisingly made three three-pointers to close the first half and gave the Clippers a 67-61 lead.
Alex Caruso led the Lakers with 16 points (4-of-9 shooting from the field), five rebounds, and four assists in 20 minutes.
To begin the second half, the Lakers quickly found themselves down by double-digits (12), which was the biggest deficit of the game.
However, led by McGee’s dunk and Caldwell-Pope’s third three-pointer, the Lakers went on their own run and cut the deficit to 73-70.
Out of a timeout, the Clippers went back to Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell and the Lakers seemingly could not recover until a late push by their G League players.
To begin the fourth quarter, Rajon Rondo scored eight quick points including two three-pointers to give the Lakers a 94-91 lead.
While the Clippers made one final push, they could not contain Caruso who finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds — both career-highs.