With the LA Clippers move to Intuit Dome next season, they’ve officially clinched the hallway series at Crypto.com Arena/Staples Center with their 127-118 win against the LA Lakers on Tuesday.

Summary

When the news broke that LeBron James was going to be out for the latest installment of Clippers vs. Lakers, it took some of the air out of what was shaping up to be a highly-anticipated matchup.

Even so, there was still plenty of energy and intensity in the air as both teams took the court. Despite not having James in the lineup, the Lakers still came out ready to play. James Harden also came out ready to play for the Clippers and his first quarter helped set the tone for the rest of the game.

In the second quarter, the Clippers took advantage of the Lakers poor defense to extend their lead. Harden continued his hot shooting from the first quarter to finish with 20 points in the first half. The Lakers had strong contributions from Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell, but the Clippers managed to take a double digit lead, 77-64, into the locker room.

The second half was where things started to get a little out of hand for the Clippers. The energy and intensity they had in the first half was seemingly gone as the Lakers got back into the game. The Clippers were careless with the ball, resulting in turnovers and scoring opportunities for the Lakers.

Although the Clippers continued to shoot the ball well against the Lakers defense, it was the turnovers that allowed the game to be close. While the Clippers managed to hold on and fend the Lakers off, Tyronn Lue was not very pleased with the team’s effort in the second half.

“We weren’t really good defensively, a lot of rotations were messed up, not getting back in transition, all the things we talked about doing, we didn’t do a good job of tonight,” Lue said after the game. “Those are things we got to be sharp with every single night. . .just overall we didn’t play a good defensive game, we didn’t do a good job with our coverages especially defensively, we were all over the place and so we just got to keep getting better.”

A big part of the Clippers win was the play of Kawhi Leonard. Leonard got his points, but also was a force on the glass and a playmaker as well. He put up his second career triple double with 23 points, ten rebounds and ten assists. Following the game, he was quick to credit his teammates with being able to get him the ten assists.

“It’s based on my teammates making shots. . .passed them the ball and they knocked it down with confidence,” Leonard said. “Me making shots early allowed them to throw two people at me and I just tried to make the right play.”

The Clippers now head out on the road for a seven-game trip before returning back home on Feb. 7 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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