The Lakers were never in the game on Tuesday night, losing 133-115 against the Los Angeles Clippers on national television. This is their 10th loss in a row against the Clippers, and they are now 22-26 on the season.
The Clippers were having a 3-point contest throughout the game, shooting 50% from behind the arc, and Paul George played like a bonafide superstar, scoring 27 points and grabbing 9 boards.
Not only did the Lakers lose, they never even had a lead. They lost the rebounding battle 47-32, and besides LeBron James’ 46-point performance, no one can say they had a good game. If you, like Darvin Ham, don’t believe in wins and losses but instead in wisdom and lessons, then the Lakers learned a lot on Tuesday.
The opening frame was all Clippers. The other L.A. team started on a 9-0 run and were a perfect 4-4 from the field. Yes, the Lakers settled down with Russell Westbrook scoring 7 points and Wenyen Gabriel adding to the bench mob with half a dozen, but the Lakers couldn’t get a lead or establish control. After a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Terrance Mann, the Clippers led by seven after one.
The rest of the first half was a reminder that when the Clippers are clicking on all cylinders, they are as good as anybody. They have too much size with wings like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the undersized Lakers to handle. Midway through the second, the lead ballooned to 23 points.
Everything went the Clippers’ way on Tuesday.
After a Ty Lue timeout, Paul George made an awful pass to Ivica Zubac that connected with his head and somehow went forward and resulted in an easy layup.
The Clippers continued to steamroll through the quarter and ended the half up by 23 shooting an astounding 61.9% from three.
Kind of feel like this tells enough of the story pic.twitter.com/g9muvd5j2N— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) January 25, 2023
The Clippers didn’t clip in the second half.
The 3-point shots kept falling, and the Lakers kept missing as only James was doing anything offensively. By the start of the fourth, the Lakers trailed by 16 and the only question left was if LeBron would get his first 40-point performance against the Clippers, the only team he had yet to score 40 on in his career.
Early in the fourth James did just that, scoring his 40th point and becoming the only player in NBA history to score 40 or more against all 30 teams. A historic record, but one that didn’t result in a victory or even a fake comeback for that matter as the Lakers were unable to ever get within reach.
Tonight, the Clippers were just the better team. Their stars shined, role players like Terrance Mann played well and every time Zubac made a good play; it just reminded me that he used to be a Laker.
Things have looked good for the Lakers prior to tonight’s game. They had won three of the last four, just made a good trade and AD is on the way. Still, the reality is this team has a long way to go and they are under .500 for a reason. They still need depth, wings, bigs and luck with injuries. There is work to do and tonight was a cruel reminder of how much work is left.
The good news is the Lakers play the 14-33 San Antonio Spurs tomorrow. So even though it’s on the second night of a back-to-back, a win is still likely and even, dare I say, expected.