The Los Angeles Lakers got off on the wrong foot during the 2019-20 NBA season as they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, 112-102.
The Lakers, who came into Opening Night as slight favorites, looked like the team from 2019 NBA preseason as they got out to a quick 13-2 lead in the first quarter.
Anthony Davis was impressive as he took advantage of an undersized Clipper frontcourt and had his way in the post. He earned a double-double in his first official game with the Lakers as finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the fast start, the Clippers found their groove in the second quarter as Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams burned the Lakers with jumper after jumper. As a team, the Clippers went on to score 40 points in the period, forcing the Lakers to play catch up for almost the entirety of the second half.
In his post-game presser, head coach Frank Vogel admitted the team’s defensive lapse in the second quarter is what most likely cost them the game.
“I didn’t like anything about our defense in the second quarter. We weren’t good enough on the ball, we weren’t good enough with our help,” Vogel shared.
“So that quarter probably cost us the game and we can get back to work and just make sure we’re tighter with our gameplan.”
Leonard and Williams seemingly took turns terrorizing the team’s defense as both were able to get to their preferred spots on the floor. Leonard bullied Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on multiple possessions as he was able to convert on several contested mid-range jumpers while Williams had his way in the pick-and-roll.
The Clippers also made it an effort to attack the Lakers bigs as they were in a drop coverage for most of the night, allowing for mid-range pull-up jump shots they happily took. They also did a good job of getting out into transition and taking advantage of the team’s defensive miscues as they scored 22 points on fast break opportunities.
While the loss will surely dampen some of the excitement that fans had coming into the season, it is always important to remember teams like the Lakers require time to gel and build chemistry. There were several moments where they flashed their potential on both ends of the floor and it is surely a matter of time before they are able to put it all together for 48 minutes.