Video Courtesy: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Clippers 7/30/2020

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After the long four-month wait, the Lake Show is finally back in action for the resumption of this 2020 NBA season. Their first opponent to meet them on the court was none other than their hallway rival, the Clippers.

 

In a game that is a potential Western Conference Finals preview, it was nothing less than an absolute battle between two heavy-weights that went down to the very last possession.

 

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: DraftKings

After a LeBron James put-back bucket gave the Lakers the 103-101 lead with 12.8 seconds left, Clippers guard Paul George missed the potential game-winning three-pointer that resulted in the Lakers’ hard-fought victory.

I was able to get a switch, and I felt like I got some contact,” said James after the game. “But the whistle wasn’t called, and when you don’t hear the whistle, you keep playing. So I was able to follow my shot up and win the game for us.”

James finished with a near triple-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. After struggling for most of the first half, he changed his shoes at halftime, hoping to bring some good fortune for the rest of the game.

I struggled a lot in the first half, actually struggled a lot through the first three quarters,” James cheerfully continued. “Getting my rhythm, which is going to come, I understand that. But switching sneakers definitely put me in a mindset of trying to close this game out for us.

 

Heading into the game, the status of Anthony Davis was undetermined after being poked in the eye by Michael Carter-Williams in the second scrimmage against the Orlando Magic.

 

Davis then missed the Lakers‘ third scrimmage against the Washington Wizards and team practice on Tuesday. He gave the fans some hope after practicing on Wednesday, wearing some goggles that looked reminiscent to the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

 

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

Davis put all of those questions to rest on Thursday as he not only played but started in the game, albeit without the Oakley goggles. He came out the gate ready to play and on fire, scoring 14 first-quarter points, showing no signs of any pain or weakness.

Not only did he go off in the first quarter, but Davis continued to be the best player on the court, posting a game-high 34 points. He was very aggressive, which resulted in a nearly perfect shooting night from the free-throw line, going 16-17 from the line.

The Clippers struggled to guard Davis without Montrezl Harrell, who has yet to return to the bubble after leaving with an excused absence. Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr., and Patrick Patterson were simply not enough to slow down Davis, who even told the Clippers bench that he “could not be stopped” after a made mid-range jumper in the third quarter.

Without Lou Williams, who also missed this game due to being in self-quarantine for ten days after recently returning to the bubble, the Clippers needed to find some scoring after George and Kawhi Leonard. George scored a team-high 30 points on 11-17 (64.7%) shooting. Leonard had 28 points on 3-4 (75%) from three.

Kyle Kuzma proved once again why he is still vital and why he is the third-leading scorer on the team, posting 16 points all on three-pointers along with grabbing seven rebounds.

Making his official Lakers debut, Dion Waiters also scored in double figures with 11 points. Waiters looked impressive by playing aggressively on offense, going 50% from the field. He looked like he has not lost a step since not playing in a regular-season game since January.

 

Photo Credit: LA Times

Besides James playing spectacular defense on George and Leonard the entire game, Alex Caruso might have had the most clutch defensive play of the game. Landry Shamet of the Clippers attempted to pass back to Reggie Jackson when Caruso got a hand on the ball and then dove to save it. the save ended up a pass to a Lakers teammate to obtain the clutch steal with just 1:03 left in the game. The play brought the score to 101-98

Although the Lakers got the hard-fought victory, they should be a bit worried that they narrowly beat the Clippers by two points, considering the Clippers were without Williams and Harrell. At full strength, the Clippers will be a lot tougher to defeat. Although the same can be said about the Lakers, without having Rajon Rondo. Regardless, there are some things that the Lakers need to work on before the postseason.

 

The Lakers next game will be on Saturday, August 1, against the defending champion Toronto Raptors. You can watch the game at 5:30 pm on ESPN or Spectrum SportsNet.

 

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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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