Teams that started 2-9 or worse in NBA history— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) November 10, 2022
Number of teams - 161
Posted a winning record - 5
Made the playoffs - 13
Won a playoff series - 1
With LeBron James and Patrick Beverley back — and Lonnie Walker IV ruled out due to non-Covid illness — the Lakers were much healthier on Wednesday than they were in their loss against Utah. The best ability is availability, and having close to their ideal starting five against their local rival led to the LA getting easy buckets for LeBron and the recently impressive Troy Brown Jr. to start the game. Russell Westbrook came in early in the first quarter to provide a spark as the team’s sixth man, and the Lakers were down by a possession midway through the first.
Unfortunately, after that, it was all Clippers. They went on a 17-3 run in a three-minute span and took a double-digit lead. Then things went from bad to worse. Unable to get Anthony Davis going in any way, getting outrebounded 13-10, and having seven turnovers, the Lakers ended the first quarter down 38-21. Easily the most embarrassing start to a game all season for the purple and gold.
But the Lakers have been pretty good in the second quarter this year and Wednesday was no exception. LeBron went on a tear, scoring 16 points and going 6-9 from the field. AD finally got going, and add a Clippers scoring drought in the middle of the quarter and you have the Lakers coming back from 17 down to tie the game at 48 with 3:26 left in the second, and trail by just 2 points at halftime.
Here we go. The dreaded third.— Edwin Garcia (@ECreates88) November 10, 2022
Then came the dreaded third quarter. The Lakers 2022-23 formula is a known quantity at this point. Lose the first, exert energy in the second to catch up, lose the third badly, make a small run in the fourth, but ultimately lose.
So far, the formula has been executed perfectly, and Wednesday was no exception.
Like clockwork, the Lakers came out stumbling in the third. The Clippers went on a 7-0 run to start the quarter, which ended with a missed layup from LeBron followed by an Ivica Zubac transition basket. Ham called a timeout with eerily similar to the start of the third against the Jazz just 48 hours ago.
After the timeout, the Lakers settled down. Bron and AD scored a couple of baskets, and a mid-quarter 11-2 run brought the Lakers back within striking distance. Brown really heated up in the third as well, with a reverse layup and a couple of mid-range jumpers; it seemed as though every time the Clippers tried to keep the Lakers at bay, he responded. However, the Clippers got hot from three in the final two minutes and an illegal defense call gave the Clippers a free throw and possession. They took advantage as Paul George made the free throw and John Wall made a basket and extended the Clippers' lead to 12.
In the fourth, the Clippers put the Lakers out of their misery. They never let even a fake comeback occur. The most notable event of the game, unfortunately, is a potential LeBron James injury. At the five-minute mark, Patrick Beverley intentionally fouled to get Bron off the court. He gingerly walked off the court and headed straight to the locker room, holding his groin. LeBron has had groin issues before, so it’s something to monitor moving forward, but for now, the team is just calling it “left leg soreness.”
Obviously, the potential absence of Lebron is an issue, but one bright spot is that the schedule finally gets a bit easier. The Lakers play their first opponent with a sub-.500 record this season on Friday when they face the Sacramento Kings at home. A win would be ideal, but as we’ve seen through 11 games, little has been ideal for the Lakeshow this season.