Wednesday, March 22 2023

Ever since the 2012-13 season, the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled mightily against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Some may have thought they had an opportunity to go against that trend on Wednesday with Kawhi Leonard out, but instead, it was the same old story.

The Lakers fell behind 38-21 at the end of the first quarter, and they made what may be becoming a customary second-quarter run to pull within two at halftime. But their third-quarter woes continued, as they outscored by 10 in the frame and never got much closer afterward.

As usual, offense was the Lakers’ biggest problem. Over the last few years, they have had lots of offensive problems against the Clippers, as Paul George and company tend to slow down the tempo and make the Lakers play a style they cannot succeed at.

Anthony Davis: B-

Davis was less aggressive overall in this game than he has been for most of the season so far. He shot a very strong 9-of-16 from the field, but he scored just 21 points, to go along with nine rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot.

He has been attempting fewer free throws this season than he has in the past. he came into this contest averaging just 5.3 foul shot attempts per game, which is down from 8.5 a game during the 2019-20 season. Davis attempted just four free throws against the Clippers, making three of them.

LeBron James: B+/A-

James was white-hot to start the game, as he seemingly couldn’t miss in the first quarter and early in the second quarter. But he went cold afterward, and although he finished 12-of-22 from the field and scored 30 points, his overall effectiveness and impact didn’t seem to match the numbers he put up.

He walked the ball upcourt time and time again in the second half, even though the Lakers were trailing. It’s something he has often been guilty of since joining the Lakers, and there was no excuse for it in this type of situation.

With 5:41 left in the fourth quarter, James took himself out of the game with what appeared to be some sort of groin injury. Shortly afterward, it was announced he wouldn’t be returned with what was termed leg soreness.

Troy Brown Jr.: B+

This was another solid game from Brown. He went 6-of-10 from the field and 2-of-6 from 3-point land for 14 points, and he showed some spurts of good individual defense.

There were also a few sequences where he took the initiative to create his own shot off the dribble and help the Lakers remain semi-competitive.

Patrick Beverley: B-

Beverley was just 2-of-8 overall, but he did well from the outside, hitting 2-of-5 from downtown while adding two rebounds, four assists and one steal.

But he often found himself guarding George, who is six or seven inches taller, and it was a factor in George going 10-of-17 from the field and finishing with 29 points.

Austin Reaves: B-/B

Reaves was just 3-of-10 overall and 1-of-5 from deep, but he helped make up for that by grabbing nine rebounds, four of them on the offensive boards. He made a number of nice hustle plays, including an offensive foul he drew on George late in the second quarter.

If Reaves ever becomes a good 3-point shooter, he could have some significant value as something of a Swiss Army knife and perhaps even a slightly upgraded version of Alex Caruso.

Russell Westbrook: B-

Is Westbrook’s magic carpet ride ending, or did he just have an off night against an opponent that always mucks it up against the Lakers?

He started the game terribly, going 1-of-8 in the first quarter while committing three turnovers. Afterward, however, he was solid, as he ended the game 6-of-15 from the field, scoring 14 points with nine assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Westbrook, like anyone else, will have bad games from time to time. The key for him will be to limit those bad games and not go into any extended slumps like he did last season.

Kendrick Nunn: D

After playing well on Monday against the Utah Jazz, Nunn contributed little on Wednesday. He missed all four of his shots, and his only positive contribution on the stat sheet was three assists in 13 minutes.

Max Christie: B

Christie made his own shot attempt of the night, which was a 3-pointer. With some sort of infection making its way throughout the Lakers team lately, he has gotten significant playing time in the last two games and has hit 3-of-5 from downtown.

The rookie also snatched five rebounds in 14 minutes on Wednesday. He may lack offensive skill at this point in his career, but he has shown good effort and energy dating back to summer league play.

Wenyen Gabriel: B-

In nine minutes, Gabriel had four points by making his lone shot attempt and both of his free throw attempts, while also contributing one rebound, one steal, one blocked shot and one assist.

One has to wonder why head coach Darvin Ham keeps going to Gabriel, who is 6-foot-9 and 205 pounds, at the center position when Davis is resting.

Matt Ryan, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones: Incomplete

Toscano-Anderson played four minutes while Ryan and Jones played one minute apiece. None of them scored a single point versus the Clippers.

Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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