The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the L.A. Clippers in their home opener on Thursday night, looking to get into the win column for the first time.
Unfortunately, despite playing hard all night, the Lakers fell just short with a 103-97 loss to fall to 0-2.
The Lakers got off to a solid start with Lonnie Walker IV and LeBron James draining 3-pointers in the first two possessions. The Clippers answered with a Marcus Morris 3 though and Ivica Zubac had a couple of early buckets to give them an 11-8 lead into the first timeout.
Anthony Davis got going out of the timeout with eight quick points although the Lakers struggled defensively, fouling Clippers players on multiple jump shots early. John Wall was the first Clippers sub off the bench, playing in his first game in over a year.
He wasted no time with four quick points and then Normal Powell drained a 3 to stretch the Clippers’ lead to eight. Walker answered with another triple of his own, however.
The Lakers’ second unit struggled offensively to close the quarter and as a result, the Clippers led 35-23 through one.
Things picked up for the Lakers in the second when James and Patrick Beverley knocked down back-to-back 3s. Matt Ryan then had five straight points to get his team back within five at 41-36.
Luke Kennard led a Clippers run from there though to get their lead back up to 12 midway through the second quarter. Kawhi Leonard then checked in for the first time and immediately went to work with back-to-back buckets. That allowed the Clippers to stretch their led to 16, but the Lakers responded with a 10-0 run to keep it close.
The Lakers’ defensive intensity continued to close the half, allowing them to fight all the way back and head into the locker room tied at 56.
Unlike the season opener against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers came out with solid energy in the third quarter. Davis knocked down a 3 but then unfortunately fell and appeared to hurt his back. He was limping around a little bit and eventually went back to the locker room to get it looked at.
Davis’ absence was felt immediately as the Clippers went on a 15-0 run to stretch their lead back to double-digits. Luckily, Davis was able to return but L.A. was forced to work themselves out of a hole because of the run while he was out. A nice close to the quarter cut the Lakers’ deficit to eight at 85-77.
James began to take over the begin the fourth, swatting a shot on one end and then finishing a layup on the other. Walker and Austin Reaves also contributed on both ends with the latter coming up with a steal and then hitting the former with an alley-oop to give the Lakers the lead.
After the Lakers went down by four, Russell Westbrook sparked them with a pair of steals, although he continued to struggle on the other end of the floor.
With the Lakers not being able to knock down an outside shot, they weren’t able to make it all the way back, suffering a close defeat.
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