Derby evening, but also a reunion at Los Angelesbetween the “best enemies” LeBron James (46 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists) and Kawhi Leonard (25 points, 9 rebounds), as well as between ex-teammates Russell Westbrook (17 points, 5 assists) and Paul George (27 points, 9 rebounds).
On the floor, however, there was no photo between the two teams, because the Clippers dominated without forcing the Lakers (133-115), relying to do this on a one-sided first half. They then only had to manage their lead after the break, despite the attempt to comeback “Purple & Gold”, ultimately too short.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— A fiery first half for the Clippers. Driven by a crazy overall address (64%) and an insolent 3-point success (15/22, or 68%!), Tyronn Lue’s men gave the Lakers a basketball lesson in the first period. In front of a good twenty points at the break (77-54), they collectively rolled over their neighbors, not letting them breathe from the first to the last minutes of this half. This show of collective strength, marked by the seal of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Norman Powell, Terance Mann and Reggie Jackson, then made life easier for the Clippers in the second half.
— Wake up too late for the Lakers. Weighed down by this first half during which they took on water in defense, LeBron James’ teammates tried to come back to score in the second half, but the step was much too high for them. Taking advantage of a slightly lower address on the Clippers side, in particular at 3-points, while theirs went up thanks to LeBron, the “Purple & Gold” thought they could overthrow their opponents in the fourth quarter, but Kawhi Leonard , Paul George and Reggie Jackson watched over the grain. A logical setback and a real form of impotence.
— Clippers’ invincibility continues. Undefeated against the Lakers since July 30, 2020, Orlando’s “bubble” era, the Clippers are now ten wins in a row against their Californian neighbors. It’s simple: since Tyronn Lue took office as head coach of the Clippers, instead of Doc Rivers, the latter no longer lost against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others. More than ever, Los Angeles is blue, white and red, without this having any connection with the presence of Nicolas Batum…
✅ LeBron James. The man of all records has struck again, becoming the only player in history to score 40+ points against all 30 NBA teams and establishing his “career high” in the number of baskets at 3 -points in a game. In full swing individually, but unfortunately too lonely collectively, the “King” tried everything to help the Lakers stay in touch in the first period, then to pick up the score in the second. Except that, in front of the collective power of the Clippers, he could not do much and, on arrival, this gives a new card in the void for the quadruple MVP…
✅ The Clippers Collective. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of course, but also Norman Powell (22 points), Reggie Jackson (19 points, 5 assists) or Terance Mann (17 points). It’s an understatement to say that Tyronn Lue’s men had plenty to do in attack, since the danger could come from anywhere. Behind LeBron James, the Lakers would have needed to have such a collective strike force, they who took a flurry of award-winning baskets from the Powell-Jackson-Mann trio, while the Leonard-George duo was in charge of punishing at mid-distance or in the paint (or even from afar, for “PG13”).
⛔ The Schröder/Beverley duo. We could also have mentioned Russell Westbrook, far from being inspired in shooting (4/13, including 1/4 from 3-pointers), but the 2017 MVP at least had the merit of compensating for his clumsiness by going for example to the line (8/13 in throws) and delivering a few dice passes. On the other hand, still in the lead, the contribution of Dennis Schröder and Patrick Beverley (10 points in total, at 4/17, including 2/9 at 3-points…) was insufficient. Especially since, defensively, Reggie Jackson and Terance Mann, not to mention Norman Powell, also dominated them…
⛔ Marcus Morris’ injury exit. The only downside on the Clippers side this night: the injury of their winger, visibly damaged in the ribs and who did not come back into play after his exit in the first quarter. This certainly did not prevent his team from winning, but it will still be necessary to monitor his state of health, while Luke Kennard and John Wall are already stuck in the infirmary.
LA Lakers (22-26) : back-to-back against San Antonio, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday (04:30).
LA Clippers (26-24) : reception of San Antonio, on the night of Thursday to Friday (04:30).
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