If NBA fans have learned anything since 2003, it’s to never bet against LeBron. However, social media focused on the 6-0 record the Clippers held against the Lakers under Ty Lue, which seemed to invite a performance from The King that we wouldn’t soon forget. Despite 26 points from LeBron, that did not happen, and the Clippers made a statement in their 132-111 win that saw six players score in double digits.
Both teams started strong on the offensive end and each scored over 30 on above-50 percent shooting, but it was the Clippers who had the slight edge going into the second. Their momentum carried over into the next quarter, extending their lead to 17 at one point, powered primarily by an efficient offense and impressive rebounding numbers—in fact, they shot 53 percent and grabbed 24 rebounds in the half. Despite relatively poor individual shooting numbers, Reggie Jackson put on an impressive performance, as he exhibited his playmaking by dishing out four assists, while also hitting important shots that got him 15 points. Luke Kennard also hit a highlight-worthy three that captured just how well the Clippers were playing, but the Lakers went on a 14-0 run to close the gap to only three at halftime, led by 18 points from LeBron.
Perhaps it was the choppy start to the second half, interrupted by whistles and a Lakers challenge, but it took less than two minutes for the Clippers to reclaim their double digit lead and the momentum that they lost shortly before the break. They outscored the Lakers 40 to 18 in the third, settling into a 25 point lead to set the stage for the final frame. The Lakers failed to mount a comeback, as the Clippers’ 63 percent clip from outside and 46 total rebounds (13 offensive) ultimately secured the win. Jackson was clearly the player of the game, as he scored 36 for his team and was just two rebounds and one assist away from a triple-double.
Los Angeles might always be a Laker town, with a rich history of success that few franchises, including the Clippers, could ever dream of replicating. But for one night, with their 132-111 victory at Crypto.com Arena, the Clippers played like this town was theirs.