L.A.

Slow start dooms Lakers in blowout loss against Clippers

Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — In another meeting against their Staples Center co-tenants, the Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing blowout loss to Los Angeles Clippers, 133-109. 

The Clippers quickly raced out to a commanding double-digit lead that the Lakers were never able to recover from and fell to their 13th loss in last 14 games against them. Here are a few takeaways from Tuesday’s contest: 

Slow Start

Following a strong team performance against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers fell well short of that out of the gate that put it out of reach by the half trailing 70-40 to the Clippers. 

The Lakers got off to an abysmal start scoring just two points through the first four minutes of the game that led to getting into a 17-4 hole. Things only worsened as the half wore on with the Clippers holding a commanding double-digit lead throughout the first two quarters on 56 percent shooting from the field and 42.1 percent from beyond the arc.

In fact, the Clippers hit stride offensively in the second quarter shooting 60.9 percent from the field while committing just one turnover in the period. Meanwhile, the Lakers scored just 16 points on 29.4 percent shooting from the field. 

The lack of effectiveness on the defensive end of the floor took the Lakers completely out of the game and led Luke Walton to benching the entire starting lineup to start the second half. 

“Once you let a talented team get into a rhythm, it was target practice for them,” Walton said. “Until the team means more than the individual, it’s going to be hard to win.”

The Clippers finished with eight players in double figures while shooting 53.6 percent from the field. The Lakers will get a chance to bounce back on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Russell Steps back

In the first game after recording a career-high 40 points, D’Angelo Russell took a step back from that performance scoring 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting with five assists.  

The 21-year-old didn’t play the same offensive aggressiveness that he displayed against the Cavaliers. With the Clippers getting out to a huge lead in the first half, it put the Lakers behind the eight ball for the rest of the game. 

This led to the bulk of Russell’s production coming with the game well out of hand with the Clippers taking their starter out of the game. He tallied nine points and three assists in the second half. 

That said, the lack of intensity went beyond just Russell with the rest of the starter unable to pick up the energy to make it a game at any point in the contest after the first quarter. 

“He shouldn’t have to do that and your team shouldn’t be put in that position,” Russell said. “[We need to each] look in the mirror as an individual and see what we can do better to help the team.”

Ingram Progressing

In what turned out to be another disheartening loss, one of the encouraging aspects that was lost in the shuffle was another solid outing from rookie Brandon Ingram, who had 21 points 8-of-14 shooting with five rebounds. 

Ingram continued to look more comfortable on the offensive end of the court getting better shot attempts when the on the floor. At the same time, he didn’t appear to be forcing his will letting his production come in the flow of the offense. 

It adds to what’s been a strong month of March as he entered Tuesday’s tilt averaging 12.9 points on 51 percent shooting from the field with 4.1 rebounds. He has a current streak of eight straight games notching double-figure scoring while shooting above 50 percent from the field in six of those contests.

This is a significant improvement from his play prior to March as he was averaging 8.2 points on 37.1 percent shooting. He will have an opportunity to build on his improved play over the final 11 games of the season. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He's also currently a sports freelance writer for Sports Uncut. He's also the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.
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