LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers stumbled out of the gate for the 2017-18 campaign with a disappointing blowout 108-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Following a tightly contested first quarter, the Clippers led for the rest of the night with their lead never truly tested. Here are a few takeaways from the season opener loss on Tuesday night:
While the Clippers paced themselves to a comfortable win on Tuesday night, the Lakers had their fair share of offensive issues in the first game of the season.
This saw the Lakers shoot just 40.7 from the field for the game and just 25 percent from beyond the arc with 18 turnovers. This included shooting just 35.4 percent from the field with 10 turnovers in the first half.
It was a complete struggle across the board with several players struggling to get any consistency offensively as Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball combined for 4-of-21 shooting from the field including 1-of-4 from beyond the arc for 15 points.
In fact, Ingram missed 10 out of his first 11 shots from the field while he had gone 1-of-7 shooting in the first half. Meanwhile, Brook Lopez also had missed eight of his 10 shots through the first two quarters.
In the eyes of head coach Luke Walton, it was the misses that he felt had a major impact on how the game played out for his team against the Clippers.
“I thought we let the fact we weren’t making shots affect our energy,” Walton said. “It’s about the process and getting better.”
Walton also added that he believes there will be stretches of these type moments defensively due to the young roster that they have assembled.
Following months of building anticipation the last few months, Ball officially made his debut which he recorded three points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field along with four assists and nine rebounds in 29 minutes played.
The 19-year-old didn’t get his first assist until late in the second quarter on a floater from Lopez. With the game well out of hand in the second half, he had the last three assists in the third quarter and didn’t take the floor in the fourth quarter.
Following the game, Ball wasn’t the least bit concerned about his individual performance but was disappointed with the team dropping the season opener.
“The way I play its win and loss,” Ball said. “I don’t care if it’s your first game or 100th game. We lost the game and we got a lot to learn. So we got to learn.”
For much of the night, he had the task of playing against Patrick Beverley, who is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the league.
“It’s basketball. He plays 94 feet. That’s what you are supposed to do,” Ball said. “He is a good defender. I just try to do what I can to get the ball in the rim.”
Despite his level of production being far from what was hoped for, Walton was encouraged by the way his rookie point guard wasn’t forcing the issue.
” I thought he was good,” Walton said. “The way he plays the game is such as feel thing for him, that I think he was out there feeling it out. I think he likes to take his time and not force things, which is good. That is part of what becoming a player in this league is all about.”
Ball will have a chance to build on his first official game on Friday night in the first back-to-back in the season on the road against the Phoenix Suns.
The Clippers strong offensive performance in the season opener with All-Star forward Blake Griffin leading the way a double-double with a game-best 29 points along with 12 rebounds
Griffin did the bulk of his scoring in the first half notching 18 points with seven rebounds in the half, which included posterizing Julius Randle in the first quarter. He was able to score in a variety of ways that also saw him knocks down three 3-pointers.
The 28-year-old played a huge part in helping keep the Clippers ahead by a comfortable margin throughout the contest as the Lakers simply didn’t have an answer for him defensively. Throughout his career, Griffin has had much personal success against Los Angeles averaging 21.3 points on 52.2 percent shooting from the field and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc with 8.9 rebounds.
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Bob Garcia IV
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