The two basketball teams in Los Angeles could not be having more vastly different 2021-22 seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers came into the season with championship aspirations while the Clippers felt like a squad biding their time until Kawhi Leonard’s return.
However, with more than 60 games in the books, it is the Clippers who are firmly in the playoff mix while the Lakers struggle to string together wins.
In their fourth and final meeting of the season, the Lakers were thoroughly embarrassed by the Clippers, who followed the same formula from their previous three games. LeBron James and company simply had no answers for the Clippers’ stifling defense and the low point of the night was when they gave up a 26-2 run at the top of the third quarter that effectively decided the result.
James did his best to try and will the Lakers back, but the damage was done and they would suffer their fourth consecutive defeat. Discussing what went wrong, James chalked it up to the Clippers making shots and feeling confident after seeing so many go down.
“Coming into the game, we knew how great of a 3-point shooting team they are. You give them multiple looks and they’re going to knock them down. We gave them too many open looks and then once the open looks started going in even the contested ones started going in, too.
“They’re a great shooting team and it’s also another win for them.”
To rub salt in the wound, the defeat meant the Clippers swept the regular-season series and the star forward was blunt when asked about it.
“They’ve been a better team,” James admitted.
With the Lakers’ constant losing, James has been more candid with his assessment of the team and this recent comment echoes the one he made about the Milwaukee Bucks. It is obvious that the Lakers’ title hopes are all but erased at this point, and it is painful to see them struggle against lower-level postseason teams.
Sitting eight games below .500 is never ideal and at this rate, it is anyone’s guess whether or not they even remain in the Play-In Tournament. It is difficult to bet against James, but all signs seem to be pointing to an incredibly disappointing finish to the year.
James believes singular quarters have killed Lakers during losing streak
In the Lakers’ four losses since the All-Star break, it has often been one quarter that has hurt them in each game, and James knows that’s something the team needs to fix.
“During this losing streak, we’ve had one quarter that’s killed us,” James said. “It’s been the second quarters, today it was the third quarter. We’ve been pretty good in the third quarters but tonight they ran out 40 on us and we only scored 18 so that’s where it stemmed.”
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