Well, if anyone was wondering if a team whose only healthy point guard is normally a low-usage backup could win an NBA game against one of the best teams in the league, the Lakers showed that the answer is a resounding “no” in their blowout loss to the Clippers on Thursday night.
It turns out that when Frank Vogel’s response to a pregame question about who would play backup point guard behind Alex Caruso for the Lakers was to laugh and say “great question” while joking with reporters that he might have general manager Rob Pelinka sign ESPN’s Dave McMenamin as an emergency fill-in, it was not a great sign that the Lakers were going to have much of a shot against their cross-hall rivals.
Their answer was to run Anthony Davis out like a big wing and pseudo LeBron James replacement, which not only didn’t work, but ended when Davis left the game early to be evaluated in the locker room. He did not return to start the second half with what the team only termed as back spasms. How long he will be out is unknown at this time, but the Lakers travel to Portland to play the Trail Blazers on the second night of a back-to-back on Friday.
But Davis or no Davis, the primary ballhandler-less Lakers never had much of a shot against a Clippers team that is healthy and rolling, committing approximately one billion turnovers and failing to generate (or make) many good shots. If you’re wondering how unwatchable this game was, Dennis Schröder went live on Twitch mid-game instead of tuning in:
Dennis live on twitch rn my dawg pic.twitter.com/ynZlvVQOP9— Anthony #Back2BackSZN (@ItsdFuZed) May 7, 2021
This loss drops the Lakers to 37-29, and they are now tied with the Blazers for sixth place in the Western Conference, setting up what is now an absolutely pivotal game against them in Portland tomorrow. It’s a matchup that could very well determine whether or not the Lakers can avoid the play-in game, and with Davis hobbled, Talen Horton-Tucker still out for that one with the Grade 1 calf strain that sidelined him against the Clippers as James and Dennis Schröder are still missing, none of this is looking good.