Los Angeles, CA- The Los Angeles Lakers (36-44) will miss the postseason for the sixth straight year after being eliminated weeks ago. On Friday night they faced their in-town rivals Los Angeles Clippers (47-33) for the fourth and final time, they defeated the Clippers 122-117.
These two split the season series.
The two Los Angeles teams came in with two different expectations amongst fans. The Lakers, who were able to sign prized free agent LeBron James during the off-season to pair with the young core (Ball, Kuzma, Ingram, & Hart), came in with expectations to contend for a conference title at worst. Many people didn’t have high expectations for the Clippers making the playoffs.
The Clippers will be playing past the regular season, and the Lakers will be at home watching. So on Friday night, it was just about bragging rights.
Photo By: Bleacher Report.
Without any of their top four players (James, Ingram, Ball, Kuzma) the Lakers were led by an undrafted player in Alex Caruso. He had a career-high, leading all scorers with 32 points (10-19) FG and made a 5-7 from 3-pt.
"I've been doing this in G League for the last year and a half and I've had my coaches down there just tell me to play confident, play the way I do," Caruso said, who also had a career-high 10 rebounds. "I'm finally just finding that groove and I'm confident and I'm comfortable. It's taken me three years to get to this point out of college."
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 25 points and 6 rebounds. Javale McGee had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.” We were having a blast," McGee said. "A lot of guys had a lot of energy because it's the battle of LA and whenever we play the Clippers, especially when it's a Clippers home game, it's kind of weird for us."
Rajon Rondo had a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists (game-high).
They were a +10 in rebounding (55-45).
Photo By: Mark J. Terrill/AP
The Clippers who currently still sit in the sixth spot out West lost their second straight after the 32-pt loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
They have two games remaining, both against current playoff teams (GSW, UT) and still could move down with the Oklahoma City Thunder just a half game back. Head Coach Doc Rivers talked about playoff seeding heading into the postseason after his team's loss.
"It matters," Rivers said of seeding positions. "I don't think anyone wants to go play Golden State."
Danilo Gallinari led the Clippers with 27 points and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 20 points. Lou Williams chipped in with 18.
"Just don't think we're playing hard enough," said Williams. "Ever since we clinched, we kind of took our foot off the gas a little bit. It's happened, that's the reality, and we just got to get out of it."
Lakers host Utah Jazz on Sunday .
Clippers Next Game: @ Golden State Warriors. 7: 30 PT