Los Angeles, CA— Anytime the Los Angeles Lakers (20-16) take the floor at Staples Center the crowd usually shows up and roots and chants for their hometown team, especially if they face their in-town rival Clippers. These two took the floor at Staples Center on Friday night with the purple & gold colors on the hardwood.
Photo By: LA Times
The Lakers coming off a tough loss the night before against the Sacramento Kings after blowing their double-digit lead in fourth quarter played their second straight game without LeBron James who is scheduled to be day-to-day as he recovers from a groin injury. James was in attendance to watch his teammates compete without him.
The young Lakers led at the half 54-51 which should have been six if not for a half-court buzzer beater at the half from Clipper guard Lou Williams.
Photo By: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Then Williams, and the Los Angeles Clippers (21-14) outscored then Lakers 67-53 in the second half closing the third on a 9-0 run after trailing by double figures late in the quarter. That run turned into a 22-0 as the Clippers went up as many as 15 in the fourth and the Lakers were never able to recover as the defeated the Lakers 118-107.
"Lou has seen pretty much every defense you can throw at him," Head Coach Rivers said. "He's a professional scorer." Williams was picking his spots and changing his pace of dribble to get where he wanted on the floor. He scored a game-high 36 points (23 in 2nd half) and did not miss a free throw 11-11 or a 3-pt going 3-3.
"We were just a little sluggish," Williams said. "We were just a step slow. We knew they were on a back-to-back, but for whatever reason, we just weren't playing our best until we put a good stretch together in the third and then busted the game wide open in the fourth."
Danilo Gallinari contributed with a double-double 19 points and 10 rebounds and Montrezl Harrell added 12. Harrell had a message to fans after boo’s that came from the crowd after the final buzzer:
"I love it," Harrell said of hearing the boos. "Because they already don't recognize us as a so-called L.A. team, but we don't really care about that. But we want y'all to know that we're the LA Clippers. That means Los Angeles Clippers, man. So there's two teams in L.A.
"Y'all try to overlook us, just because of everybody in that purple and gold and the history of it. Yeah, I respect that. But that don't mean s--- to me. Excuse my French -- that don't mean nothing to me. I come out here and play for the guys that I am on the floor with. At the end of the day, y'all gonna have to recognize us, man. We are going to make you understand who we are."
The Clippers were a -15 from three but made up that difference at the free throw line making 32-34 from the free throw line.
Photo By: Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 24 points after scoring 33 the night before against Sacramento. "A lot of us ran out of gas right there," Kuzma said. "When we're tired physically, our mental aspect has to be better."
Lonzo Ball who picked up his fourth foul in the third finished with 19 points and a team-high 6 assist. Brandon Ingram chipped in with 17 points but missed 6 of his 12 free throw attempts. Josh Hart who once again got the start in place of injured James scored 12 points but was mainly recognized for his defensively play on Clippers leading scorer Tobias Harris holding him to just 9 points on 3-9 shooting.
"I know we can get through it," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "I know it's not going to be easy, but I believe in the guys that we have. We've just got to do a couple of things a little bit better."
Clippers sit 4th in the Western Conference and the Lakers are in 7th.
Lakers Next Game: Sunday vs Sacramento Kings
Clippers Next Game: Saturday vs San Antonio Spurs