Lakers didn’t have enough firepower against the Clippers

With LeBron James sitting out on Tuesday due to a bad ankle, the Los Angeles Lakers were at a major disadvantage when they faced the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers had won 19 of their last 23 games and have been one of the NBA’s very best offensive teams lately, and beating them, even with a healthy James, would’ve been a tall order.

Yet early on, it looked like the Purple and Gold at least had a chance. They competed well for most of the first quarter, but the Clippers calmly extended their lead to as many as 16 points in the second quarter, seemingly without breaking a sweat. After trailing by 13 at halftime, the Lakers tried chipping away at their deficit, and they were able to come to within two points with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter.

In the end, though, the Clippers were just too potent, as they pulled away for a 127-116 victory.

Interestingly, the Lakers outrebounded the Clippers by five and shot 10 more free throws. But while they shot 48.9% from the field, the Clippers clocked in at 59.1% in that category and 51.9% from 3-point range. The Lakers shot reasonably well from downtown for much of the game, but they went cool down the stretch and shot just 34.4% from that distance on the night.

This loss dropped the Lakers to a 22-23 record, although they still lead the Clippers 2-1 in the season series. The final matchup of the regular season between these two squads will take place on Feb. 28.

Davis has been unstoppable lately. He was one of two Lakers who kept the team from getting blown out, and there were times when it seemed the Clippers couldn’t do anything about him.

He scored 26 points on 12-of-20 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds and adding two assists. But he took only one shot in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers certainly needed him to continue his usual dominance with the outcome hanging in the balance.

In addition, Davis’ defense left something to be desired — he had no steals or blocks, and the Lakers could’ve used more resistance at the rim from him defensively.

Prince shot 4-of-10 overall and 2-of-6 from 3-point land, giving him 11 points. He also contributed three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots. However, those numbers were somewhat misleading, as he needed to do more defensively. At times, it seemed as if Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could get any shot they wanted, and the two Clippers stars shot a combined 19-of-28 from the field.

Reddish made a nice offensive contribution. He went 3-of-5 overall and 2-of-4 from downtown to score nine points in 16 minutes. He also made an effort defensively, which allowed him to come up with three blocked shots and one steal.

However, he turned his ankle with 9:48 left in the fourth quarter and had to come out of the game. He wouldn’t return for the rest of the night.

Reaves shot just 5-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-8 from deep, and he had trouble getting good looks, let alone hitting them. While he was effective near the rim, he didn’t get off any mid-range shots, and the Clippers made him shoot long jumpers with a hand in his face when he couldn’t get into the paint.

Defensively, the Clippers went after him, and it was a continuation of a trend that started in last summer’s FIBA World Cup.

Overall, Reaves scored 12 points, dished off five assists and added two rebounds, two steals and one block.

D’Angelo Russell: A-minus

Russell shot well in the first half and scored 15 points to help keep the Lakers in the contest. He went cold in the fourth quarter, shooting just 1-of-6 in that period, but he still scored 27 points and hit 4-of-10 from 3-point range.

The guard also had 10 assists and five rebounds, but unfortunately, he also had five turnovers. But he also had a highlight block when he denied a Harden layup attempt in transition.

Vanderbilt played with lots of vigor on Tuesday, and he quickly injected the Lakers with energy once he got into the game in the first quarter.

The forward sparked back-to-back fast breaks with a steal and a defensive rebound, both of which resulted in baskets for Davis. Later, he blocked a fast-break layup attempt by Russell Westbrook early in the fourth quarter. Vanderbilt did a good job of running the floor and moving without the ball, which allowed him to score 12 points.

He also grabbed nine rebounds, with six of them coming on the offensive boards, and he finished with three steals and two assists. Defensively, he took turns guarding Leonard, George and James Harden, and while the results weren’t there, it shows he invaluable he is to the Lakers.

Hachimura was efficient, as he shot 5-of-8 from the field. However, he scored only 11 points in 30 minutes, and this was a game in which the Lakers needed more offense from him. They were ultimately a two-horse gang on offense with only two players scoring more than a dozen points, and down the stretch, with Russell flaming out and Davis not being a factor, the Lakers would’ve welcomed more scoring from Hachimura.

Wood helped out on the boards with seven rebounds, and at times, he did a good job of attacking the paint off the dribble. But he scored just six points in 14 minutes, and as was the case with Hachimura, he needed to be far more assertive.

Christie got onto the court for 10 minutes, but he didn’t produce a single positive stat, as he took only one shot, which he missed.

All three got into the game for one minute apiece at the end. Lewis scored on his lone shot attempt, while Hood-Schifino and Hayes went scoreless.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

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