Summary

In one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, the Lakers outplayed the Clippers for much of the contest, and won relatively handily, 112-103. The game started out decently for the Clippers, who came out with a ton of energy and some really solid defense. Unfortunately, some bad shots by Marcus Morris and a couple live-ball turnovers by Patrick Beverley gave the Lakers some early transition opportunities, which they took advantage of. Fortunately, Paul George was up for the challenge, and his aggression in creating his own offense kept the Clippers within a basket. The Clippers’ bench unit performed no better offensively, though Montrezl Harrell had a couple nice baskets, and the Lakers led by a score going into the 2nd quarter.

As it has been for the Clippers of late, the 2nd period was a good one. Despite more bad shots attempts, this time by Reggie Jackson, the Clippers defense tightened up further, and the Lakers struggled to score as a result. JaMychal Green cleaned up on the glass, Jackson was able to get a couple shots to fall, and the Clippers were able to build a small lead. The return of the starters kept the momentum going, with George picking up right where he left off in the 1st. Even with a somewhat quiet showing from Leonard, and more bricks from Morris, the Clippers were able to hold onto their slim advantage due to their stout defense.

Unfortunately, that defense failed after halftime. The Clippers offense remained at an acceptable level (if still too stagnant and turnover-prone), but their defense dipped, and that was all the Lakers needed. LeBron barreled his way into the paint and kicked to shooters, and when they missed, other Lakers were there to get the offensive rebounds. Paul George struck back and again regained the lead for the Clippers, but the momentum had turned. Similarly, while the bench played well on initial return, the Lakers continued to score far too easily, with Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell being the main culprits. The Clippers were able to score just enough to stay in it, but the Lakers had a lead and confidence going into the 4th.

Oddly, Doc Rivers rolled out an all-bench lineup against LeBron James, and was swiftly punished for it. Landry Shamet’s lack of confident continued with some poor decision-making on offense, and the Lakers lead doubled in an instant. Kawhi returned just a minute later, but the damage was done, and the Clippers would never get as close again. Doc Rivers continued to shift lineups to discover a mix that combined enough offense and defense, but never found it. The Lakers relentlessly targeted Lou Williams, who surrendered bucket after bucket, with Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris providing no help defense or rim protection. On the other end, while Kawhi go tgoing, the ball continued to stick, and the Clippers were unable to string together any kind of run. There were points where the Clippers could have made a push, but the Lakers would score or the Clippers would miss a shot, and the Lakers won going away with their starters resting the final minute.

Notes

Odd Rotation Choices: It’s always easy to second-guess coaching, but Doc Rivers made some peculiar decisions tonight. The biggest one was probably playing Lou Williams most of the 4th quarter – as great as Lou is, he did not have it tonight offensively, and the Lakers were brutally targeting him on defense. Even with Pat Beverley having a mediocre game, he still would have been a beter option. Meanwhile, Montrezl Harrell played 19 minutes in a row, and continuously gave up rebounds and shots in the paint to the Lakers. Ivica Zubac also didn’t have a particularly great performance, but he should have received some minutes down the stretch. Finally, Marcus Morris was dreadful on both ends, and was soundly outplayed by JaMychal Green. Green played a mere 11 minutes, a travesty considering what he did on the floor, and it continues to be irksome that Morris dominates the minutes load to the extent he does. Maybe Doc was just holding off on true adjustments until the playoffs, but this was not a great coaching performance.

The Disappearance of Landry Shamet: After surging to start 2020, Shamet has retreated into a shell over the past couple weeks. His minutes have been gashed by Reggie Jackson (and the return of Paul George), and his confidence seems to have gone with his playing time. He passed up a couple open looks today, bricked a wide open three, and just generally is not playing well. The Clippers are at their best when he’s creating havoc offensively, and he’s also a better option on defense than Jackson or Lou due to his size. Doc said post-game that Shamet’s minutes will continue to be reduced with George and Kawhi playing more, and while that makes sense, Reggie Jackson playing more than Shamet seems questionable in the broader picture.

PG Thrives: While Kawhi Leonard was solid, and JaMychal Green played quite well, Paul George was the only reason this game was remotely close. PG had 31 points on 16 shots, and scored in a wide variety of ways. The Lakers simply could not stop him for much of the game. Weirdly, he only took one shot in the 4th quarter. While the Lakers keyed in on him, the Clippers went away from him far too much considering how hot he was. Even though this was a loss, George’s strong play was a great sign, and his ability to cook the smaller Lakers defenders should hold true going forward.

Avery Bradley Revenge Game: Perhaps the most irritating element of this game for Clippers fans was the play of universally loathed former Clipper Avery Bradley. Bradley, who seemingly couldn’t hit an open shot if his life depended on it as a Clipper, went 6-12 from deep, and made huge shot after huge shot. On the other end, he bohered the Clippers with his pesky on-ball defense, and picked a couple of pockets. He’s been better for the Lakers than he was for the Clippers, but this was still an outlier shooting performance for Bradley, who is an average outside shooter. The knowledge this was probably a one-off did not make those threes feel any better though.

Takeaways: It’s hard to take too much away from this one, same as with any one game. The Lakers were brilliant, especially defensively, and outplayed the Clippers on both ends. However, the Clippers’ role players were awful collectively, and that likely won’t happen again. Still, the Clippers will need to make some adjustments to get their offense going in the future, because they had real trouble even moving the ball today (12 assists to 15 turnovers). It was a loss, but it was a learnable one, and the Clips should be better for it down the road.

28 Comments

  • Avatar AndreyDKS says:

    “, and that likely won’t happen again”, OH BOY, IT WILL

  • Avatar Oodypkt says:

    The win streak when fully healthy is gone, but maybe it’s not that bad.
    Focus on getting better and be ready for the playoffs.
    This match-up for 7 game series should be fun.
    Go clips!

  • Avatar 8sp0rts8 says:

    Morris going 0 for 7 from 3 with only 1 pt and Bradley going off for 24 was probably the biggest difference.

    And I definitely didn’t like Lou closing the game. He just does not box out and loses his man way too many times just watching the ball

    • Avatar dhpat says:

      Agreed, if this was a 7 game series, we would be up 2-1, make adjustments and play a big game 4 at home. Still some ways from the Playoffs. Need to have at least 15 more games with the full team. Disappointed, but let the Laker fans have their weekend in the sun. The Storm is coming.

      • Avatar NovakDjokovic says:

        This game was a rude awakening, the Lakers and the Clippers in my opinion are two best teams in the NBA, and I’d put the Lakers put at No 1, purely because Doc Rivers is a complete idiot.

        This series is going to atleast 6 games, there’s no two ways about it, Lebron and Kawhi will do the usual impose their will in the playoffs.

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      I’m fine w/ Lou closing out games when he’s cooking – we all know that when he’s on he can carry the entire team offensively in the 4th. The problem is when that isn’t happening. Yesterday the Clips were running a bunch of plays for Kawhi and inexplicably MM in the 4th.

      If Lou isn’t taking shots and/or doesn’t have the ball in his hands to distribute when he draws in the defense, he’s a huge negative – so basically, when his only contributions are on defense, and when the opposing coach notices and adjusts to this (Vogel did), he’s basically unplayable.

  • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

    Definitely seemed like a coaching regression. Not playing Zu in the 4th and Bev until the end. Doc talks a lot about trusting each other but he doesn’t seem to coach like that at times. For instance, Reggie has been a key contributor to the win streak, yet, we have Lou initiate the bench offense. Stick with what got you here!

    • Avatar Killaclip says:

      Exactly you can’t preach trust when you panic and abandon rotations with ease

      • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

        To be clear, this is at the margins stuff that can be corrected. AB regressing to his average and we win the game.

        • Avatar chogokin says:

          I don’t consider myself a Doc “hater,” but the problem is this “around the margins” stuff has been around for so long that I’m not sure it’s going to change. Remember when we were screaming at Doc for continuing to play Paul Pierce (who was so bad we had a legit argument to play Lance instead)? So yea, it *can* be fixed, I’m just not sure how likely it is that it *will* be.

          …AB regressing though, I’m pretty confident in that happening regardless lol

          • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

            I hear you but he has changed as evidenced by this recent run:

            -Zu playing the 4th.
            -Lou not automatically closing games.
            -Reggie being the primary second unit ball-handler.
            -Staggering PG and Kawhi.

          • Avatar chogokin says:

            So I wanted to reply to you, Showman, but for some reason there’s no Reply button on your comments (ah, the joys of working out the kinks early on in this site’s development)…

            But anyways, that’s fair. Doc has made the adjustments you listed off during the win streak, so I guess I’ll just hope that his endgame management for this game was an outlier brain fart that he knows needs to be rectified going forward – it’s annoying that it happened to happen against the Fakers though -_-

          • Avatar Based Freestyle says:

            @Showman: Doc hasn’t changed at all. Notice how as soon as there was a little adversity against a good opponent, Doc went right back to his old habits. Zu warmed the bench when we needed his defense. Lou was back to handling the ball and playing in the closing lineup.

            It’s easy for him to try things when we’re up 30, but yesterday’s game shows how he’s going to coach in the playoffs, and it’s going to be the same old routine.

      • Avatar Notabandwagoner says:

        Concur. During some of Lob City’s biggest moments, the panic on Doc’s face was evident. That trickles down to the team.

  • Avatar Brian Tran says:

    Hey everyone, first post here and migrate from Clipsnation.

    The bugs here a big annoying but I understand this is only on the testing stages and everyone here are doing a good job.

    To comment regarding the game, this game is on Docs. Yes, players can shoot a bit better and play better defense, but I thought the players play well enough to win.

    The one that stands out like a sore thumb and was off today was Doc coaching. Lot of questionable callings and rotations and his arrogance were in play today. We basically saw the worse of doc’s coaching all in this game.

    This team can win the championship and we have the players to do it, but if the coaching is not in a standard with the talents, then it’s meaningless. I hope Doc changes his ways or it would be a fail season.

  • Avatar Clipperdave says:

    The difference clearly was Marcus Morris and Avery Bradley. Why does doc trust Morris so much? Morris shooting 26% from 3 for the clippers, his regression this season coming at exactly the wrong time as feared. I am having flashbacks of Jeff Green. Doc needs to sit him until he starts taking better shots and getting his groove back. No excuse for Beverley sitting all that time.

  • Avatar 8sp0rts8 says:

    Laker fans are the worst, puffing their chest after this win after claiming the first 2 losses don’t matter since it’s just regular season. So which one is it?

    Also, why do the Clips continue to under perform in day games? In any case, still believe Clippers would win in a 7 game series. Go Clips!

    • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

      Let ’em. Lebron had to play 35 and 37 minutes this past weekend and now they want to try to pass the Bucks. Go ahead and wear him down in time for the playoffs.

  • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

    Lol, ok fellas. I think there is some intentionality by Doc. And he absolutely adapts. Remember last year when he we suddenly busted out the small on small pick n pop? Only time will tell but my guess is Doc isn’t showing all his cards.

    • Avatar David Balstad says:

      Totally agree. This game was bigger for the Lakers than it was for the Clippers. The Lakers has to win this game considering they lost the first two. I know lots of people have issues with Doc but he’s a good coach. He’s not gonna show his hand the last 20 games of the season. I see him experimenting with things to wind up the season. The Clippers just need to be healthy going in to the playoffs. It’s not a guarantee that there’ll be a championship parade when it’s all over, but I’ll take my chances with a healthy team. It’s gonna be fun!

    • Avatar Based Freestyle says:

      Notice how this is the only example people can come up with for Doc making adjustments when he’s been here for seven seasons. There’s far more examples of him stubbornly refusing to adjust to the detriment of the team.

      For instance, he spent the entire Lob City era promising to stagger the starters and never doing it. When we traded CP3, he claimed we were going to move the ball more, then built the offense around Austin/Lou isoball. The front office has routinely had to trade players away (Austin, Avery, Jerome) so Doc couldn’t give them way too much playing time anymore.

      This idea that Doc is holding things back for the playoffs has no basis in reality. We’ve seen enough of a sample size in the playoffs to know that Doc’s coaching doesn’t change. He still plays favorites. His rotations still work against the roster’s strengths. He still doesn’t make adjustments. He still doesn’t have a system. This is who Doc is as a coach and he’s never going to change.

  • Avatar osamu says:

    Heyyyyy I’m logged in for the first time in like week!

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