Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers have had to rely on their defense to keep them in games. That was again the case on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Clippers, although their offense was not able to do their part in a 104-86 blowout loss at Staples Center.
The Clippers came out of the gates firing. They hit their first six shots as the Lakers struggled on both ends of the floor to grab a 13-5 lead with 8:39 left in the first. Markieff Morris did all he could to keep the Lakers in it early, scoring the team’s first seven points.
Rajon Rondo was one of the first subs off the bench for the Clippers in his debut with the team, but did not make an immediate impact. He turned the ball over and back-to-back possessions, then committed a foul. This prompted a Clippers timeout as the Lakers still trailed 22-15 with 3:23 to go.
At the end of the first, the Clippers led 27-20 after a relatively poor offensive quarter from the Lakers. The Morris twins combined for 20 of the 47 first-quarter points.
Midway through the second quarter, the Lakers had still not hit a 3-pointer. Paul George’s hot shooting allowed the Clippers to extend their lead slightly, making it 38-28 at the 6:17 mark.
The Lakers finally hit their first three at the 2:16 mark of the second courtesy of Marc Gasol. However, it came after a 10-0 Clippers run that brought their lead to 20. The Lakers cut the gap slightly before the half, as it was 53-38 in favor of the Clippers.
The beginning of the second half was reminiscent of the first, as the Clippers were all over the Lakers with their incredible offensive attack. By the 10:05 mark, a 15-point Clippers lead became 22, as it was 62-40.
While the defense tightened up the rest of the third quarter, the offense was as ugly as it has been all season long. They scored just 17 for the period, their second straight scoring under 20. Heading into the final quarter, it looked to be extended garbage time with the Lakers trailing 77-55.
The Lakers were able to keep pace to start the fourth. At the 7:24 mark, it was 87-68 as Talen Horton-Tucker and Montrezl Harrell were doing all they could to keep L.A. afloat. Ultimately though, the Lakers were not able to cut into the deficit and the Clippers cruised to an easy victory.
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