After dropping their 56th game of the season, a franchise worst, the Los Angeles Lakers had to face the team who handed them that one more time this season, the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night at Staples Center, in hopes of breaking a three-game losing skid.
The Lakers lost to the Clippers Sunday, 106-78, with the Clippers leading by as many as 43 points throughout the game. The Clippers (52-26) have won 10 out of 11 games against the Lakers and six straight, which is their longest winning streak in the rivalry.
With the Lakers (20-56) in second-to-last place in the Western Conference and have already been out of playoff contention since March, the Clippers on the other hand are fifth and hope to gain a home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lakers hoped to stop the Clippers strong lineup and find some rhythm, both offensively and defensively. If not, they would find themselves in another tragic loss.
The Clippers started off leading the Lakers 4-0, until Jeremy Lin hit a shot from behind the arc to put the Lakers on the board, down by one. Jordan Clarkson went up and under the rim through the middle, Lakers lead, 5-4. Lin with another three extended the lead to four. J.J Redick answered back with a three-pointer of his own to cut it back to one. Both teams continued to go back-and-forth on the court in attempts to take the lead. Midway through the first, the Lakers trailed, 14-12. With the assist from Chris Paul, Redick managed to make another shot behind the arc, as the Clippers went on an 8-0 run to lead 19-12. The Lakers continued to struggle offensively, missing consecutive shots. Clarkson drove to the middle and drew the foul for a three-point play, as the Lakers trailed, 23-17. With less than two minutes to play, Jabari Brown put up a floater to cut the deficit to four. The Lakers closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run and headed into the second, down two, 23-21.
With the Lakers down in the first two minutes of the game, Jamal Crawford drew a foul with a jumper for a three-point play, but missed the foul and the Lakers trailed, 26-22. The Lakers picked up on the defensive end, but didn’t have much luck on the offensive side, as they remained behind 31-22, after Hedo Turkoglu hit a three-pointer. Sacre answered back with a jumper and on the other end was quickly answered back by a dunk from Blake Griffin. Tarik Black put up a shot, but Griffin answered back with a wide-open jump shot, as the Lakers trailed, 37-28. Clarkson drove toward the rim for a three-point play to cut the deficit to six. Redick stayed hot and shot another three with a behind the back assist from Griffin. Less than three minutes left to play in the half, after two free throws by Black, the Clippers led by nine, 42-33. Two free throws by Paul, pushed the Clippers lead back to nine, 44-35, with less than two minutes to go. Clarkson hit the floater, but was answered back with a layup by Griffin. A one-handed dunk by Kelly, cut the deficit, 46-39. With many missed opportunities to cut the deficit, the Lakers ended the second quarter down 11, 50-39.
After a rough first half for Kelly, he knocked in a three-pointer to cut the deficit to eight, 50-42, to start the third quarter. The Lakers continued to struggle offensively, missing consecutive shots and failed to get the offensive rebound, as they trailed, 56-47. Clarkson made a tough finish for a three-point play opportunity, but missed the free throw, as the Lakers remained down, 58-49. A pass by Lin to Black for a layup cut the deficit to seven. Midway through the third, Clarkson found Black open in the paint for a two, Lakers trailed, 62-55. Clarkson continued to make plays, as he had an another three-point opportunity, after sinking in a layup under the rim, Lakers down six. Johnson put in a three-pointer, as the Lakers trailed, 72-64. He was answered back by Paul, who made a layup through the middle. Less than a minute to play, Clarkson hit a shot far behind the arc, as Lakers got within nine. Clarkson drove through the middle fearlessly to draw a foul and two free throws. He made both, as the Lakers headed into the fourth down, 76-69.
Jamal Crawford hit a floater to start the scoring for the quarter, but Brown answered with a three to bring the Lakers within six. Hawes and Johnson traded three-pointers and Rivers made a couple of floaters to keep the Clippers ahead by eight. Free throws from Brown cut the Lakers deficit to 85-78. Kelly finished a tough layup, but Rivers responded with one of his own as the Lakers remained behind by seven. Dwight Buycks banked in a three to bring the Lakers within four midway through the quarter. Sacre hit a jumper to bring the Lakers within one possession, 87-85. Kelly hit a technical free throw to cut the lead to one. Griffin hit a jumper, but Sacre responded with a dream-shake hook shot to keep the Lakers within one. Redick hit a tough three and a pair of free throws to give the Clippers a cushion. Paul hit Barnes for a lob and suddenly the Lakers were ahead by eight with three minutes left. Clarkson hit Johnson in transition to cut the lead to seven, but the Lakers turned the ball over on the next possession and the Clippers went back ahead by eight with two minutes left. Clarkson hit Davis for a layup to get within six and Johnson hit a jumper to cut the lead to four with under a minute left, but Griffin would hit an open jumper to put the Clippers up 100-94. Black hit a floater, but the Lakers remained behind by four with only 16 seconds left. Redick split a pair of free throws and Lin knocked down two to bring the Lakers within three. Paul hit a pair on the other end and Lin was fouled again and hit both to bring the Lakers within three with 11 seconds left. Redick free throws ended the game as the Clippers won 105-100.
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