The hardwood at Staples Center will don the logo of the Los Angeles Clippers as the Los Angeles Lakers will look to end their losing streak tonight. Blake Griffin will not be in the building tonight due to the inevitable unwanted media attention that he would draw because of his recent injury. Griffin broke his hand after punching the team’s equipment manager, and he will be out for 4-6 weeks as his hand heals.
Kobe Bryant will rest tonight, as he is dealing with a sore right shoulder and also because tonight is the second night of a back-to-back. D’Angelo Russell will look to have a better game against Chris Paul tonight after he was admittedly lackadaisical last night against the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers are trying to snap their longest losing streak of the season, and the Clippers will look to win their third straight game.
The Lakers won the tip and Anthony Brown made a three-pointer on his second attempt, but the Clippers answered with a 6-0 run. The Clippers scored 10 early points in the paint in the first six minutes of the game, and the Lakers trailed 9-16. DeAndre Jordan picked up his second foul of the game with 6:35 remaining in the first, so he headed to the bench to avoid future foul trouble. With Jordan on the bench, the Lakers scored more points in the paint and Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers to a 9-2 run to tie the game up at 21 apiece with 3:47 to go in the quarter. On the Lakers final possession of the quarter, D’Angelo Russell made a go-ahead jumper from the elbow to give the Lakers a 29-28 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Lakers opened up the second quarter in a 2-3 zone on defense, but the Clippers still managed to score in the paint while DeAndre Jordan’s presence in the paint forced the Lakers to settle for midrange shots. After the Lakers good first quarter, the Clippers went on a 16-5 scoring run, and the Lakers trailed by eight points with 6:32 remaining in the half. Julius Randle forced the ball inside and drew help defense, then found Roy Hibbert open for the short corner set shot, and the Lakers trailed by just four points with 2:42 left in the second quarter. On the final possession of the half, Randle bullied the Clippers inside and scored a contested shot in the paint, and the Lakers trailed 49-54 at the half.
The Lakers opened up the quarter with four straight points on midrange jumpers from Randle and Hibbert, but Chris Paul answered with a jumper of his own to give him 15 points on the night. The Lakers made an 11-0 run capped off by a three-pointer by Lou Williams, and the Lakers took the lead 61-59 midway through the third quarter. Russell turned the ball over with a cross court pass, but Lou Williams blocked Wesley Johnson’s layup in transition, but the Lakers trailed by one point with 4:16 left in the quarter. The Lakers turned the ball over eight times in the quarter, and the Clippers extended their lead to nine points. Despite their issues taking care of the ball in the third, the Lakers were still very much in the game and trailed 71-78 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Clippers started the quarter with a 9-3 run and gave them a 13 point lead, their largest of the game, with 9:07 remaining in the ballgame. With the game in danger of getting out of hand, Julius Randle played aggressively and scored back-to-back buckets to bring the game within eight points with 6:42 to go in the game. Lance Stephenson posterized Julius Randle, and the Clippers went on a 6-0 run. The Lakers entered desperation mode after Paul made a jumper from the baseline to give the Clippers a 12 point advantage with 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. Nothing changed in the last three minutes, and their Lakers lost their 40th game of the season to the Clippers, 93-105.