L.A.

Lakers squeeze past Clippers in preseason finale

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angele Lakers concluded preseason action on Friday night where they edged out their fellow Staples Center tenants, Los Angeles Clippers 111-104. 

With the Clippers sitting out all their starters for the contest, the Lakers still managed to squeeze by the Clippers in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. Here are a few takeaways: 

Power Forward Situation Still Murky

Heading into the final preseason game, there have been many questions surrounding who will earn the starting spot at power forward to start the regular season. 

There wasn’t any further clarity brought to the situation as each player that is presumably up for the position added to their case to earn the role. Larry Nance Jr., who got the start once again, finished with four points, seven rebounds, and two assists in 21 minutes. 

Meanwhile, Julius Randle put up another productive night with 15 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting with seven rebounds in 13 minutes before exiting due to back spasms. Rookie Kyle Kuzma finally took a step back offensively scoring eight points on 1-of-8 shooting along with five assists, and four rebounds in 28 minutes on the floor. 

With there still being a few days until the start of the regular season, head coach Luke Walton has indicated that he will use the next few days to make his determination at the position. 

Ingram Strong Outing 

It has been nothing short of a bumpy preseason for Brandon Ingram, which he concluded with a strong outing by recording 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with five assists, and four rebounds against the Clippers. 

Ingram looked more assertive on the floor in the first half scoring 11 points that included a pair of 3-pointers along with five assists. He made more quick decision with the ball in his hands either looking to score or make plays for his teammates that included a solid bounce pass in transition to Nance Jr. for a dunk. 

Although the Clippers didn’t have any of their starters on the floor, his play was an encouraging sign as he picked his spots precisely to be aggressive with his shot that led to an efficient shooting night. Ultimately, it could be used a stepping stone in the right direction for 20-year-old as heads into his second campaign. 

Defense In Progress

One of the talking points throughout the preseason and training camp has been the Lakers’ play defensively. 

This didn’t see much improvement on Friday as the Clippers were able to score 104 points despite having their entire starting lineup sitting out. This led to guards Tyrone Wallace and Jawun Evans combining for 55 points and 13 assists while their team scored 25 or more points in the first three quarters of the game. 

Following the game, the absence of starters from the Clippers was acknowledged as having an impact on the intensity level from the Lakers. 

“We didn’t have a lot of energy as a team, we kind of played down a level because they didn’t have their guys playing,” Kuzma said. “But we know we can’t do that, and we’ll be ready for Thursday.”

 Regardless of that being the case, It was a performance that Walton believed the Lakers took a step back from the past two preseason games. 

“I thought our guys took some steps backward on defense tonight as far as our discipline and our effort,” Walton said. “Now we have a whole game of film to break down and show our players what it looks like when you’re doing it with effort and without.”

The Lakers are set to begin the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 19 against the Clippers. Lakers and Clippers tickets are available at a discount from TicketIQ.com. In addition, you can find Los Angeles parking near the Staples Center from ParkWhiz, as well as opportunities to park anywhere near your location for any Staples Center events this year!

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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 was previously 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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