After a hot start to the game, the Lakers cooled down considerably and wound up losing to the Clippers, 112-102. While James and Davis both packed the stat sheet, neither player was able to contribute much down the stretch as the team watched a tie game at the end of the third turn into a fourth-quarter rout.
Outscored 27-17 in the fourth, the Lakers had no answer from the duo of Kawhi Leonard and Lou Williams while Patrick Beverly continually gave LeBron fits and disrupted the Lakers’ offensive flow. While one loss doesn’t dictate a season – especially a game one loss – the Lakers have a considerable amount of work to do in order to be a championship level contender.
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Kendrick Perkins Explains Lakers Loss to Clippers
Kendrick Perkins, a Celtic under Doc Rivers when they beat the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, has a pretty solid understanding of how Doc Rivers-coached teams operate. Moreover, he played alongside LeBron in Cleveland and thus has insight into both the Lakers and Clippers. Perkins explains how the Laker offense stagnated and repeatedly ran the same look – “Turn 4” – to the point where the Clippers got extremely comfortable defending it.
Perkins went on to say he felt James running the point for the entire game may be an issue as well and that it was something he “wasn’t a fan of”. James led the game in turnovers with five and struggled mightily from the field, going just 7 of 19 including a brutal 1 of 5 mark from downtown.
While Perkins may have been exaggerating when he claimed the Lakers ran Turn 4 on 75% of his plays, he isn’t wrong that they ran it a disproportionally large amount. The Laker offense was incredibly stagnant against the Clippers and they need to make some major adjustments as their schedule doesn’t get much easier with the Jazz up next.
LeBron James, Lakers Face Another Tough Challenge With Utah Jazz on Friday
Coming off their loss to the Clippers, the Lakers face another stiff test in the Utah Jazz. Owning one of the better defensive units from top to bottom and featuring the massive Rudy Gobert, the Lakers will have their typical size advantage neutralized. They can ill afford to sit back and repeatedly run the same look again and again, especially against Utah who might possess an even better defense compared to the Clippers.
It will be interesting to see how head coach Frank Vogel makes adjustments and just what the rotation might look like with Rajon Rondo back into the mix. Rondo could prove valuable as a secondary creator to get James out of the point guard role and should be a major boost to the second unit – who struggled to get anything going at all.
Although things are early and the Lakers showed plenty of promise against the Clippers, if they are unable to address these issues in a timely manner, the season could be over before it even begins in such a deep Western Conference.