LeBron James, Lakers Open 2nd Half of Season with Loss to Clippers

LeBron James, Lakers Open 2nd Half of Season with Loss to Clippers

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 105-102 on Friday at Crypto.com Arena.

Seven Clippers scored in double digits, led by Terance Mann with 19. Mann also had 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Luke Kennard scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half.

Lakers forward LeBron James, who was listed as questionable with left knee soreness, suited up and posted 21 points and 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony each scored 18, and Dwight Howard posted 14 points and 16 rebounds.

A game in which the Lakers erased a 16-point Clippers lead came down to the final minute.

Forward Marcus Morris Sr. hit a jumper to put the Clips up 103-102 with 39.4 seconds left.

NBA @NBA

Marcus Morris Sr. knocks down the jumper to take the lead for the @LAClippers!@LAClippers 103@Lakers 102

24.5 remaining on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/dK1wYTCnTH

Westbrook missed a two-pointer in response, but the Clippers then committed an eight-second turnover violation.

The Lakers called timeout to set up a final play. The Clippers double-teamed James, who then dished to Anthony. Melo fired a deep three for the lead, but it was short.

The Lakers fouled after a rebound by Clippers forward Robert Covington, and Reggie Jackson hit two free throws for a 105-102 lead. Having used their last timeout, the Lakers needed to go the full length of the court with 2.2 seconds left. They got a gift when the ball deflected off the Clippers in the Lakers’ end of the court.

James then shot a turnaround three-point jumper, but it did not connect.

Both teams were playing their first game since the All-Star break.

Notable Performances

Lakers F LeBron James: 21 points, 11 rebounds

Lakers F Carmelo Anthony: 18 points, 5 rebounds

Lakers PG Russell Westbrook: 18 points, 1 steal

Clippers G Terance Mann: 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals

Clippers F Luke Kennard: 18 points, 6 rebounds

Clippers G Reggie Jackson: 17 points, 6 assists

Clippers Start Hot, Go Cold and Finish Strong

It was the Kennard show in the first half, as the former Duke star dropped 14 points off the bench. He hit four three-pointers by halftime.

LA Clippers @LAClippers

Luke soarinโ€™ and scorinโ€™.

๐Ÿ“Š 14 PTS | 5-7 FG | 4-6 3FG | 4 REB pic.twitter.com/SnR7SDmqPc

Mann also did yeoman’s work for the Clips, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds, dishing three assists and recording two steals.

LA Clippers @LAClippers

That Oop tho. ๐Ÿ‘€

๐Ÿ“บ @BallySportWest | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/d44xfzqizt

LA Clippers @LAClippers

The pass, the finish. @LukeKennard5 โžก๏ธ @terance_mann.

๐Ÿ“บ @BallySportWest | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/8RuKX3wDdA

As Kennard and Mann did work, the Lakers couldn’t buy a three-pointer, missing their first 11 shots from beyond the arc (10 in the first quarter). They stayed in the game because Howard turned back the clock to 2009.

The Clippers opened the second half with a bucket to go up 12 points, but they proceeded to go ice cold.

The Lakers outscored the Clips 31-15 in the third to take a 78-72 advantage into the final frame.

The Clippers didn’t go away, though, thanks largely to Amir Coffey. He had just two points entering the fourth quarter but then scored 12 alongside a steal and an assist.

LA Clippers @LAClippers

COFF3Y IS BREWING! โ˜•

๐Ÿ“บ @BallySportWest | @coffeyshop_ pic.twitter.com/SbMu2ZR2K8

Things seemed like they were becoming bleak after Westbrook made a layup for a five-point lead with 2:44 left, but the Clippers responded with a 10-2 run for the win.

The Lakers missed all six of their field-goal attempts after Westbrook’s layup, with their only points coming off a pair of free throws. Coffey and Lakers forward Austin Reaves traded free throws before the Morris jumper gave the Clippers the lead for good.

The Clippers have showed tremendous resiliency all year without Kawhi Leonard. They’ve also been without Paul George for 36 games. Somehow, they’re 31-31 and in position for the play-in tournament.

Lakers Climb All the Way Back But Can’t Finish

If not for James’ 14 first-half points in concert with Howard’s phenomenal performance, this game could have been over by halftime.

Alas, the Lakers got the chance, but they didn’t take advantage.

In response to the Clippers’ frigid third-quarter start, the Lakers cut their opponents’ lead own to 61-58 after a Russell Westbrook layup.

Mann responded with two straight buckets to put the Clips back up seven.

LA Clippers @LAClippers

Ooooh that drive by @terance_mann. ๐Ÿ‘€

๐Ÿ“บ @BallySportWest | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/z2QdkeavYf

But the Lakers went on a quarter-ending 20-7 run largely because of Anthony, Talen Horton-Tucker and Malik Monk.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Now that’s how you end a quarter ๐Ÿ”ฅ pic.twitter.com/MYFUTuYU7T

The Clippers got back on track in the fourth quarter, but the trio of Monk, Melo and THT kept doing the work.

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

The Arkansas Oop pic.twitter.com/rYKbAHB1pO

Horton-Tucker had eight points in the final frame, including a three in response to a Coffey floater. Anthony then downed a pair of three-pointers.

NBA @NBA

๐Ÿ‘Œ Melo hits the corner 3 to put the @Lakers up 5 on ESPN pic.twitter.com/sqf4I9QEIc

However, the final four minutes went poorly for the Lakers, whose offense reverted back to its cold first-half form. Credit to L.A. for storming back after a bleak start, but they couldn’t finish the job.

What’s Next?

Both teams will play Sunday.

The Lakers are hosting the New Orleans Pelicans at 10 p.m. ET. The Clippers will visit the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center at 7 p.m.

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