NBA

Lakers Lose Battle of LA in 118-107 Loss to Clippers

Lou Williams scored 36 points and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated their roommates, the Los Angeles Lakers, 118-107, on Friday night at Staples Center.

The Clippers currently own Staples Center, the Lakers are just leasing.

Lou Williams scored 36 points and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated their roommates, the Los Angeles Lakers, 118-107, on Friday night at Staples Center.

It was the first meeting between the two co-tenants, and the shorthanded Lakers struggled in the fourth quarter without their superstar for the second straight game.

"I know we can get through it. I know it's not going to be easy," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton about life without LeBron James. "I know and believe in the guys that we have. I believe that the team we have can get it done."

The Lakers led by as many as ten points in the second half, but the Clippers went on a 22-0 run to end the third quarter and start the fourth quarter, as they took a commanding 16-point lead with less than five minutes remaining.

"We were just a little sluggish," Williams said. "We were just a step slow. We knew they were on a back-to-back, but for whatever reason, we just weren't playing our best until we put a good stretch together in the third and then busted the game wide open in the fourth."

Williams, a former Laker, scored 23 points in the second half, but it was the Clippers defense that clamped down on the young Lakers on the longest unanswered scoring run in the NBA this season.

"We put the bulldogs on the floor, and the fight was amazing," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers of his defensive unit featuring Patrick Beverly, Montrezl Harrell, Avery Bradley, Sindarious Thornwell and Williams.

"They were more aggressive than us," said Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball. "They've got some big guys on that team, they're older, and I think they tried to punk us."

LeBron James missed his second consecutive game with a strained left groin, and the youthful Lakers once again were unable to close out a game with a double-digit lead in the second half.

The Lakers relinquished a 15-point lead in the final seven minutes of Thursday night's loss to the Sacramento Kings.

Despite their blowout over the two-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, the Lakers have lost five of their last seven games, and fallen into seventh in the Western Conference standings.

Kyle Kuzma once again led the Lakers with a team-high 24 points in the loss.

Ball had 19 points, five rebounds, and six assists, and Brandon Ingram had 17 points.

"I have to try and be more aggressive," said Ingram after the game. "I have to do a better job of knocking down my free throws and not turning the basketball as much. I have to just do more overall on the basketball floor."

The Clippers lead the NBA in bench scoring and that's mostly in part to Williams who had a game-high 36 off the bench. In total, the Clips' bench scored 71 points, more than all five starters combined (47).

"Our bench did a great job," said Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari, who had 19 points and was the only starter in double-figures. "They brought us energy, the intensity, and they were able to get back in the game."

Montrezl Harrell chipped in 12 points for the Clippers and grabbed four rebounds as he continues to be a source of energy and excitement off the bench for L.A. 

"His energy and his toughness, he knows his niche with each group," said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers about his undersized power forward. "When he plays with the second group, he knows exactly how to play with those guys. He has kind of figured it out, it is nice."

The Lakers are last in the NBA in free throw percentage, and their Achille's heel was prominent again on Friday night, as the Lake Show finished 24-for-35 from the line for a paltry 68 percent. By comparison, the Clippers finished 32 of 34 from the line for a 94 percent mark.

"When they shoot 90 percent from the line and we shoot 68 percent, it’s going to be hard to win that game," said Walton. "We’re shouting ourselves in the foot.”

Los Angeles has now lost 22 of their last 25 games against the Clippers. 

Notes and Next

LeBron James missed the game with a left groin strain, but was sitting at the end of the bench in street clothes. Rajon Rondo underwent successful surgery on his right ring finger to repair a torn ligament. JaVale McGee missed his seventh consecutive game with a respiratory infection. Lakers guard Josh Hart was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter after picking up two technical fouls.

The Lakers will get a rematch with the Sacramento Kings, when they look to avenge Thursday's loss at Staples Center.

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