While coaches Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis predicted that long winning streaks could occur at any moment, the Lakers ‘on-court reality speaks volumes for some bleak predictions, including the Clippers’ 119-115 loss on Friday night. …
As the Lakers (12-12) struggled for the first lead of the game at the start of the second half, LeBron James stood in front of the bench with his hands up and eyes wide. He wanted the ball and Davis never saw him, instead trying to force a pass to Dwight Howard, which the Clippers (12-11) defended easily.
A few minutes later on the defensive, James popped out from behind Paul George to try to intercept the ball, leaving Marcus Morris in the corner to double down on the Clippers’ top scorer. Dwight Howard turned slowly and James remained kind of shrugging his shoulders as the Clippers took an open three.
Davis later misjudged Malik Monk’s touch pass, which Reggie Jackson easily passed and took the other way, where Morris hit a three when Talen Horton-Tucker fouled him.
In the fourth variation, free throws and offensive fouls were missed, preventing the Lakers from getting ahead, the Clippers at the other end reacted almost immediately to every mistake.
So it was all approach and retreat, approach and retreat, approach and retreat – until it turned into a simple old defeat.
The Clippers celebrated at the Lakers’ court in the building they share, hitting every comeback with better execution and timely shooting, never falling behind.
Marcus Morris Sr. and Paul George topped the Clippers with 21 and 19 points respectively, while Luke Kennard made some big shots, adding 19 from the bench. The other three Clippers were in double digits.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James topped the Lakers with 27 points and 21 points respectively. In total, they gave 21 rebounds and 10 assists. Malik Monk finished with 20 points.
The defeat for the Lakers is the last unsuccessful attempt to gain momentum from game to game, with the team plugging one hole only to find two or three more leaks.
Needing distance and attack, the Lakers moved James back after missing a game on the NBA Health and Safety records – and Carmelo Anthony into the frontcourt along with three defenders to maximize the potential of the court.
It worked – the lanes opened up and the three-point gazes were clearer, the ball falling through the basket on almost every trip around the court.
But when that problem was resolved, the Lakers’ defensive flaws were fully exposed: Clippers center Isaiah Hartenstein knocked James out from under the ball and went to the edge with seven quick points against the squad.
The Lakers hope that eventually Horton-Tucker can be part of the defense’s answer. Coach Vogel wants their 21-year-old striker to face the opposition’s top perimeter and get him to hit hard, as he did with George on Friday across multiple properties.
“For me,” Vogel said before the game, “it’s hope – the hope that whatever perimeter player we play tonight will be able to do the job. But he is still a young player and we have to put him in such situations before we can give such an assessment. “
On Friday, Vogel used a revamped starting lineup: Horton-Tucker and Howard with James, Davis and Russell Westbrook. Avery Bradley and DeAndre Jordan, the two players replaced by Vogel, failed to secure the rotation.
Although Friday marked Horton-Tucker’s eighth start in 11 games this season, it was only his second start alongside James, Westbrook and Davis.
James was able to play unrestricted after clearing the NBA health and safety records on Thursday, returning a string of negative tests after testing positive before Tuesday’s game in Sacramento.