The Los Angeles Clippers drubbed the Los Angeles Lakers 104-86 in a game that was rarely close at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon. While holding the Clippers to 104 points could be viewed as a win, it was scoring only 86 points that holds significant concern.
In spite of the myriad injuries, the Lakers have remained an elite defensive team without some crucial personnel. However, in the last eight games, Los Angeles ranks 29th in the NBA in points per game, scoring just 100.0 a contest. Their 43.2% field goal percentage ranks 28th and their 33.7% 3-point percentage ranks 24th.
Those struggles only exacerbated against the Clippers, as the Lakers shot 40% from the field and 30.4% from long range. L.A. just couldn’t muster any success with what they tried to do offensively, but one player who thrived was Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker dropped 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting off the bench, but there weren’t many positives alongside him. He explained where the Lakers fell short on offense.
“I feel like when we came out in the second half we tried to change our offensive approach, change it up a little bit,” Horton-Tucker said. “But I feel like just the flow of the game, today wasn’t great. Just being able to come out and capitalize on our offensive mistakes is something we have to focus on.”
The offensive performance against the Clippers manifested as the antithesis to how the Lakers performed against the Sacramento Kings, a game in which L.A. hit 51.5% of their 3-pointers on 33 attempts.
Horton-Tucker explained the difference between the two games and said success essentially boils down to converting looks.
“I feel like in Sacramento we had a little bit more flow,” Horton-Tucker said. “Guys were hitting shots, everybody was hitting shots. In the end, it’s a make or miss league so I feel like that was pretty much the big difference for us. We can compete a little bit harder, but it comes down to making shots and executing.”
Horton-Tucker discusses importance of rest of Lakers’ road trip
The Lakers have started their seven-game road trip with a 1-1 record, but five games remain and four of those opponents are currently playoff teams in the Eastern Conference.
Winning those games will be arduous, especially without LeBron James and Anthony Davis — who head coach Frank Vogel provided an injury update on — but the Lakers need to snag some wins in order to stay afloat in the playoff seedings.
Horton-Tucker said the Lakers have to take advantage of every single game and maintain focus.
“Yeah, we look at every game we play now, we look at it as a game we need,” Horton-Tucker said. “So just being able to come in and have that focus I feel like will put us over the top. All we got to do is focus on doing the right things like Coach [Vogel] as us.”
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