The loss snaps the Lakers' four-game winning streak and slots them in the 7th seed in the Western Conference standings.
Fresh off playing in an overtime game, LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ availability were very much in question heading into the matchup. Fatigue definitely was a factor as both stars played well below their standards in the first 24 minutes.
The Lakers had no answer for the Clippers’ perimeter shooting in the first half as they poured down threes from everywhere on the court. After getting the score within 11 at the 1:29 mark, the Lakers gave up an 8-0 run to close the quarter and went into halftime down 19. Their crosstown rivals shot 16-36 from deep on the night and never cooled down.
In Russell Westbrook’s first game against his former team, he was...fine. He played 21 minutes, made half of his shots and scored 14 points. Worth noting, he was also a -1 when he was on the floor, and when considering this was a blowout, that isn’t great.
Davis was lackluster throughout the first half compared to the aggressive version we’ve seen over the past handful of games. He had just six points through the first two quarters as he was unable to break through double teams and Ivica Zubac’s defense.
To start the third, James finally began to show signs of life, and so did the team behind him. After scoring five straight points and hitting a logo three, momentum began to shift the Lakers’ way. He ended the night with 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. 30 of James’ points came in the second half.
The team’s defense picked up exponentially which helped them get out in transition, and in the blink of an eye, a once 24-point lead had shriveled to just 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
The problem with being down by so many points, however, is it takes so much energy to get back into the game. The other team from Los Angeles hit back-to-back threes to start the final frame and regained their comfortable lead, killing whatever momentum the Lakers had left.
Having to play three games in four nights while the Clippers were resting led to a slow start the Lakers ultimately couldn't overcome. This now marks their eleventh straight loss to the Clippers. The fatigue factor is not an excuse, but sometimes you have a scheduled loss and this game qualifies for that.
Now sitting at the seventh seed, the Lakers must win their final two games and get help from the Warriors if they want to avoid the play-in. They’ll finally get some much needed rest before their next game against the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.