After an awful road trip in which the Los Angeles Lakers lost six of seven games, the team was happy to come home for a Christmas Day showdown against their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. After a slow start, Luke Walton’s team turned things around and came out with an 111-102 win.
The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Lakers and an 11-game losing streak against the Clippers. After the win, Walton spoke about the Lakers really needing it considering their recent slide, according to Bill Oram of the OC Register:
“It was needed,” Walton said. “It was. It’s one win, we all know that that’s not that big of a deal in the long NBA season, but for us it felt nice to get this one back home.”
Walton added that he believed the Lakers came out and played harder because of their recent losing streak:
“I think we played that way because of, yes, having an edge from losing,” Walton said.
The Lakers overcame a slow start mainly due to an outstanding third quarter, something that has been hard to come by in recent games. They outscored the Clippers 34-16 in the period which allowed them to have a 15-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
Of course, the Clippers did stage a bit of a comeback and cut the lead down to a single possession, but this time the Lakers responded well and were able to hold off the short-handed Clippers.
As Walton said, this win was needed for the psyche of this team. The Lakers had lost 12 of 13 games, and things were in danger of spiraling out of control for this young team. Getting a win on Christmas night could instill some confidence that the Lakers can still compete with everyone like they showed at the beginning of the season.