The LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers were unable two make it two wins in a row on Saturday, losing to the Los Angeles Clippers 103-87 at the Honda Center. With a loss on Saturday, the Lakers fall to 1-3 in the preseason.
The Lakers were a little short on playmaking without James (rest) or Lonzo Ball (knee) in the rotation, but Rajon Rondo made up for it as much as he could, dishing out a game-high 10 assists in 26 minutes while turning the ball over just three times. They also had more baskets off of assists than the Clippers (24 to LAC’s 16), despite not having a pair of their best passers.
However, the Clippers were still able to come out on top because they have a number of players on their roster that can create shots for themselves, particularly at the guard spots. Lou Williams was his usual self, scoring 19 points in 19 minutes on 75 percent shooting (3-of-4) from behind the arc.
The Lakers prefer to get their shots in a free-flowing offense and will likely succeed in the regular season in doing so, but on nights when the team doesn’t have one or more of James, Ball and Rondo available they’ll struggle to put the ball in the basket.
They also didn’t look very polished on the defensive end against the Clippers either. Of the players that played at least 10 minutes on Saturday, only Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac finished with a positive box plus-minus.
Suffice to say, they have some kinks to iron out.
The Lakers will have have their biggest break in play they’ve had in the preseason so far with three days until their matchup against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. Walton is hopeful Ball will make his return then. LeBron James is also expected to return next week.
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