Things started about as well as the Los Angeles Lakers could’ve hoped, as they began their first game of the season by setting the tone with the physicality they’ve looked for all preseason. The Clippers took those punches, swung back, and fans got to enjoy the exact kind of matchup they’d love to see in the Western Conference Finals, even if it ultimately resulted in a 112-102 Lakers loss.
But if the Lakers were going to win — and just as a general concept — LeBron James and Anthony Davis needed to set the tone. James was sloppy offensively (finishing with 18 points on 19 shots) and Davis (scoring 25 points on 21 attempts) settled far too often for fallaway midrange jumpers, and while there were obviously other factors at play, things tend to come down to just that.
On the bright side, though, Danny Green absolutely kept the Lakers in this game. His timely shooting from deep helped spur a 15-0 run in the third quarter. His 7 threes and 28 points really hammered home how great of a signing he was.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the opposite of that, finishing with 0 points in 27 minutes, though Frank Vogel did him no favors whatsoever by having him guard Kawhi Leonard. Klutch ties notwithstanding, that was among the most insane decisions made by a head coach in recent memory, and we’ve watched Byron Scott-coached teams.
Still, James and Davis had combined for only two total points in the fourth quarter. If you’re looking for an explanation as to how the Clippers outscored the Lakers by double digits in that final frame, that’s really all you need to mention.
The Lakers don’t play again until Friday against a tough Utah Jazz team. Given the excitement surround preseason, it would be a real disappointment to start out 0-2. Tip of for that game is 7:30 p.m. PST.