LOS ANGELES — While coach Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis have predicted long winning streaks could happen at any moment, the on-court realities for the Los Angeles Lakers tell a story with somewhat bleaker outlook, including a 119-115 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
As the Lakers (12-12) fought to grab their first lead of the game early in the second half, LeBron James stood in front of the Lakers’ bench, his arms in the air and his eyes wide open. He wanted the ball and Davis never saw him, instead trying to force a pass inside to Dwight Howard that the Clippers (12-11) easily defended.
Minutes later on the defensive end, James sprinted from behind Paul George to try to force a steal, leaving Marcus Morris in the corner to double team the Clippers’ leading scorer. Howard was slow to rotate and James was left sort of shrugging while the Clippers made an open three-pointer.
Davis would later misjudge a touch pass to Malik Monk, with Reggie Jackson easily swiping it and taking it the other way, where Morris hit a three while being fouled by Talen Horton-Tucker.
In the fourth, it was missed free throws and offensive fouls keeping the Lakers from ever nudging ahead, each mistake almost immediately responded to by the Clippers on the other end.
It was that way all game — approach and retreat, approach and retreat, approach and retreat – until it was just plain old defeat.
The Clippers celebrated on the Lakers court inside the building they share, fighting off every comeback with a parade of better execution and timely shot making, never trailing in the game.
Morris and George led the Clippers with 21 and 19 points, respectively, while Luke Kennard contributed some big shots down the stretch while adding 19 points off the bench. Three other Clippers were in double figures.
Davis and James led the Lakers with 27 and 21 points, respectively. They combined for 21 rebounds and 10 assists. Monk finished with 20 points off the bench.
The Lakers’ loss is the latest failed attempt to grab any momentum on a game-to-game basis, the team plugging one hole only to find two or three more leaks.