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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Clippers – Game 48

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (22-26) | Los Angeles Clippers (26-24)

 

The Lake Show fell victim to an offensive clinic put on by the Los Angeles Clippers 133-115

 

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Washington Wizards traded forward Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Kendrick Nunn and multiple second-round picks. The trade included three second-round picks, a 2023 second via Chicago, a 2029 LA second, and a less favorable 2028 Washington/LA second, sources told ESPN. Hachimura and the Wizards could not agree on a rookie extension before the season.

Hachimura shot 44% from three in 42 games last season. Since returning from injury in December, he averaged 14.6 points per game on 49% shooting from the field and 34% from deep. Hachimura wasn’t ready to play against the Clippers, but potentially against the Spurs.

I’m so excited for this opportunity. I’m so happy to be a part of this family,” Hachimura told reporters. The Lakers traded for Hachimura intending to sign him to an extension this summer, sources told ESPN. Darvin Ham on Hachimura: “I’m super-duper excited. I’ve always been impressed by him. Just a multi-faceted, strong, athletic, skilled young player. I think he’s gonna bring a lot.”

Rob Pelinka told reporters that talks with Washington started about a week ago and that it was an “opportunity to strike early” on the trade market. He also added that their work might not be finished, “We’re going to continue to monitor the situations with the 29 other teams, and our job as a front office is to always look for ways to improve our team both now and in the future,” The Lakers have seven second-round picks available to include in a trade.

For the 67th time total and for the second time this month, LeBron James was named Western Conference Player of the Week. James was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Monday, Jan. 16, through Sunday, Jan. 22.

The Lakers went with the same starters against the Clippers with Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Brown, King James, and Thomas Bryant.

Kawhi Leonard wasted no time in this one, realizing that he had Beverley on him, and he took advantage, scoring back-to-back buckets. The Clippers as a whole came ready to play, as they had jumped out to a 9-0 lead. The Lake Show had countered nicely, as after Ham had called the first timeout, the Lakers outscored the Clippers 17-11 to trail 20-17 with 4:42 left in the first quarter.

The offense had picked up, but their defense was still lacking, as the Clippers were still shooting 57.1% from the field. LA stepped up, holding the Clippers scoreless for over two and a half minutes until Leonard got to the free-throw line.

These teams seem to be opposites, as the Lakers are second in the NBA in points in the paint (56.8), and the Clippers are 28th (43.3). LAC is 11th in made threes, while LAL is 30th. LAL is 15th overall in offense (8th in the last 15 games), and LAC is just 25th.

However, the Clippers were showcasing the power of the three-pointer as they shot 54.5% (6-11), and that was enough for them to sit comfortably with a six-point lead. To end the first quarter, Wenyen Gabriel stayed persistent and outworked Robert Covington for the second chance points. Unfortunately, Terance Mann made a half-court shot at the buzzer to give the Clippers a 37-30 lead as they headed into the second quarter.

With LAC’s onslaught from three continuing, LA needed to keep pace at the very least. James stepped up with a made three, then he set Russell Westbrook up for a transition layup, only for Nicolas Batum to smack Russ’ attempt off the backboard.

At this point of the game, the Clippers took control, as they had a 15-point lead at 51-36 with 8:30 left in the first half. The Lake Show could not contain the Clippers from three, as LAC’s percentage inflated to 62.5% (10-16).

Max Christie did an excellent job defending and forcing a turnover from Paul George, who is still a superstar caliber-level player. That led to a solid, fast break opportunity that ended with a hook shot from Bryant. With that, LA responded with a 5-0 run. Indeed, it wasn’t outlandish to believe that the Lake Show wasn’t at all defeated just yet, as they came off a 25-point comeback last time out.

There was a feeling of the tides changing, but the Lakers just did not have an answer for the Clippers defensively. With the Lakers playing soft perimeter defense, LAC pushed their lead up to 19 points. King James was the only Laker to have more than one made three-pointer in the first half. Reggie Jackson came into this game shooting 25% from three in January but was 3-3 so far, summing up LAC’s perimeter shooting.

 

At halftime, the score read Clippers 77, Lakers 54. James had 18 points. Westbrook had 11 points and four assists. The Clippers made 15-23 from three (65.2%). Three Clippers had made three-plus threes. LAL was 7-21 on threes (33.3%). The Clippers average 12.4 threes per game.

 

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Entering the second half, Bryant knocked down a three, but the Lakers needed much more than that to catch up. James had it going from downtown, but the Lake Show needed to be better defensively, as they still trailed 85-67.

James continued his efforts as he soared over the first row, diving for a loose ball. Hopefully, that would have woken up the team. Somehow, a technical foul was called on Lakers assistant Chris Jent, but luckily Leonard missed the free throw.

At the end of the third quarter, the score read Clippers 98, Lakers 82. It was a better showing for the Lake Show, thanks to James, but they still had a lot of work to do in the fourth. It also helped that the Clippers cooled off from deep, making 1-8 of their three-pointer attempts.

There’s a reason we call him the king, and King James’ efforts had LAL only trailing 111-97 with 7:35 left in regulation. Fortunately for the Lake Show, James would stay red hot, and he would hit his ninth triple of the game, which was a new career-high for the king, and that three had cut the Clippers’ lead down to 10 points.

However, the rest of the team lacked in production, as Schroder turned the ball over right into the hands of Leonard and fouled him in the middle of a made layup, which gave Leonard a free and-1 opportunity. The Laker’s momentum was depleted, and the Clippers went on an 8-0 run, shutting the Lake Show back down 18. Ham took out the regulars, and this one was over, with their eyes toward the Spurs. The final score read Clippers 133, Lakers 115. The Lake Show has now lost ten straight to the Clippers.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

The Lake Show dropped to 22-26. They’re 10-10 since Anthony Davis’ right foot injury. King James had an excellent outing, totaling 46 points on a career-high nine three-pointers, eight rebounds, and seven assists, as well as becoming the first player to score 40 points against all 30 NBA franchises. 

George led LAC with 27 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Leonard had 25 points (0-4 3PM), nine rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Norman Powell and Jackson combined for 41 points (8-12 3PM) off the bench. Mann totaled 17 points (4-7 3PM). Ham told reporters after the game that they just have to “tip our cap” to the Clippers’ shooting display in the first half, “85, 90% of those shots were heavily contested.” 

Ham on if James will play against the Spurs, “We’ll see once everyone wakes up in the morning.” Ham also told reporters that Hachimura would make his debut vs. San Antonio. TNT reported that Davis may play against the Spurs, but Ham wouldn’t confirm that AD is playing, “Once we get our evaluations done in the morning, the possibilities are limitless.”

King James is now just 178 points from surpassing the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for No. 1 on the all-time scoring list.

 

The Lakers will now take on the San Antonio Spurs. They’ll face off on Wednesday, January 25th, at 7:30 p.m. PT at the Crypto.com Arena. The game will be available on Bally Sports Southwest, NBA League Pass, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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