The Los Angeles Lakers meet up with the Los Angeles Clippers for the second time this season after defeating their cross-town rivals on Christmas Day. The Lakers will be hoping to make it two in a row while the Clippers have their sights set on revenge.
The Lakers began the game with a starting lineup of D’Angelo Russell, Lou Williams, Nick Young, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov. Typical starting small forward Luol Deng would get the afternoon off for rest.
The Clippers started the game with an easy dunk for DeAndre Jordan out of botched pick and roll coverage from the Lakers, but Los Angeles responded with a Mozgov dunk after Randle drew the defense on a drive. The Clippers pushed forward to an early 10-4 lead after forcing turnovers and getting good looks in the paint.
Mozgov scored inside after a nice pass from Russell, and a steal and layup from Young cut the Clippers’ lead to just two. Unfortunately, Austin Rivers hit a three on the following possession. Russell got hit hard by Luc Richard Mbah Moute and hit the floor in pain, but was able to stay in the game.
Young missed a reverse layup and the Clippers lead continued to grow at 16-8. Rivers scored again on a driving layup. Mozgov followed a Randle miss but couldn’t get the ball to go in the basket, which was a problem for the entire team with just eight points and under three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Clarkson finally hit a runner in the lane to break the drought but the damage had been done. The Lakers bench of Brandon Ingram, Thomas Robinson, Tarik Black, and Clarkson were joined by Young, but they still struggled on both ends of the floor. Robinson had a nice finish in the paint, but then missed a wide open layup late and the quarter ended with the Clippers up 26-15.
Ingram got the second quarter off to the right start with a drive and right-handed finish at the rim, but the tenants answered with a Mo Speights three. Wesley Johnson manager to block Tarik Black at the rim, but Williams drained a three anyway. Robinson was fouled trying to score in the paint but missed both free throws, and Raymond Felton hit a running to push the Clippers lead back to double digits.
Speights drew a questionable charge call on Black and then hit a three on the other end, followed by a layup for the Clippers after a clear foul committed by the Clippers on Robinson prevented him from getting the rebound. An understandably angry Luke Walton called timeout and stared daggers at the officials.
Walton brought Randle back into the game hoping to get his team going again, but Williams was blocked at the rim and ex-Lakers Brandon Bass got a run-out dunk as a result. Randle hit a turnaround jumper in the paint, but the Clippers still held a big lead at 38-26. It seemed as though every time the Lakers scored the Clippers had an answer. J.J Redick hit a three to push the Clipper’s lead to 15, and things went from bad to worse when the Lakers turned the ball over on the next possession and the Clippers got a layup.
Walton, searching for someone who can hit a shot, inserted Jose Calderon into the game, but the struggles continued. At the end of the quarter, the Lakers were down 58-39.
The Lakers started the second half with Ingram in the starting five in place of Williams. Mozgov got a dunk right off the bat, but Chris Paul found Mbah Moute for an easy dunk on the other end. Back-to-back threes from Ingram and Young got the Lakers going, and Young was able to leak out after a Clippers miss and get a layup to cut the lead to 11. However, Julius Randle stayed down with a sore ankle. He was able to walk it off and stay in the game.
The Clippers got a three on the next possession, and then scored again the next time down the court. Mozgov was called on a goaltend but the replay showed that it was a poor call by the official, but still the end result was a 15 point lead for the Clippers. Mozgov took out his frustration by spinning on DeAndre Jordan and dunking. Yes, that really happened.
Ingram was fouled on the next trip down and hit a pair of free throws. Ingram then hit a corner three, but a Jordan alley-oop kept the Lakers at bay. Young hit another three off a cross-court pass from Ingram, but unfortunately, Paul answered with one of his own.
Ingram got himself to the line again in what was turning out to be a great quarter for him, but Paul once again scored on the baseline. Walton brought in a Clarkson and removed Randle to go small, then subbed Mozgov out for Black. A Jordan dunk brought the Clippers lead up to 16. The Lakers turned the ball over after a timeout, which couldn’t have made coach Walton happy. Rivers scored on a runner pushing the lead all the way back to 18.
With the game getting out of hand and Walton searching for a spark, Marcelo “The Catalyst” Huertas, but Jordan and the Clippers continued to thrive. After three-quarters, it was 84-68 in favor of the Clippers.
The Clippers started the fourth quarter with a three from Wesley Johnson as the Lakers defense continued to struggle. On the offensive end, Clarkson hit a runner in the lane and Williams hit a three, but they couldn’t make up any ground because they weren’t getting any stops.
Huertas hit a nice floater after driving to his left, but the Clippers responded by getting Jordan his 10th basket of the game without a miss.
The Lakers were able to cut the lead to 12 on three free throws from Williams but again failed to get the stops that they needed to make it a game.
The Lakers made a push here and there and looked like they might threaten to catch up, but the Clippers managed to respond every time. With just four minutes to play the Clippers had a 20-point lead at 108-88, but the Lakers kept scrapping even though there was no way to catch up.
With the game decided, Metta World Peace made an appearance, as did Ivica Zubac, who hit a nice looking hook shot. At the final buzzer, the Lakers lost, 113-97.