Patrick Beverley just had to rub a little salt in the wounds after blocking LeBron James’ game-tying shot.
For the second time this season, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, taking down the purple and gold by a score of 111-106. This time around, it was a closer game all the way to the end as the Clippers led the Lakers by three points in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.
As the Lakers had a chance to tie the game, the 6-foot-9 James took matters into his own hands by dribbling down the clock and pulling up for a 3-point attempt over the 6-foot-1 Patrick Beverley with 3.6 seconds remaining in the game.
Simple physics would make one think that James had the obvious advantage here and would easily hoist his shot over the much smaller defender. The problem is, Beverley blocked James as he was coming up for his shot and the ball rolled off of James’ hands last — resulting in a turnover and a change of possession in favor of the Clippers.
While that, combined with the result of the game, was enough of a brutal blow, Beverley then took the time to mock the three-time NBA champion by reenacting the play in front of his Clippers teammates.
It didn’t look much different from the original play, as you can see below.
The two teams will meet again a month from now on January 28 and you can believe that James will have this in the back of his mind as he looks to lead the Lakers over the hump against the Clippers.
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Clippers Overcome 15-Point Deficit in Third Quarter
Despite trailing by 15 points in the third quarter, the Clippers were able to overcome their sluggish start to defeat their division rivals. Kawhi Leonard scored 11 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and the Clippers were simply able to make more clutch plays than the Lakers in the closing minutes of the game.
Anthony Davis — who had a key shooting foul on Clippers guard Lou Williams late in the game — admitted that the Lakers made one too many mental mistakes in the closing minutes of the game, as ESPN detailed.
“They wanted it more,” Davis said. “We had a lot of mistakes down at the end of the game, mental mistakes at both ends of the floor. We fouled a lot in the fourth quarter, put them to the line. … We gave that one away.”
Kawhi Leonard Outplays LeBron James
The final play referenced earlier — Beverley’s block on James — was initially ruled Lakers ball. However, after video review, the call was overturned and instead given to the Clippers. Although James disagreed with the overturn, as Washington Post’s Ben Golliver detailed, he says the game wasn’t dictated by that play alone.
“That wasn’t the game right there,” James said. “I mean, it’s a big play and you want to try to get it right, but it wasn’t where the game was lost.”
James had a nice stat line of 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, but he struggled from the field (9-of-24) and was worse from beyond the arc (2-of-12). Considering his rival, Leonard had a much more efficient night, going 11-of-19 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range, one could argue that Leonard’s superior performance was a driving force in the Clippers’ victory.
We’re only in December, but it’s clear that at this point, the Clippers are winning the battle of Los Angeles.