As they did in their previous two games, the Los Angeles Lakers fell behind big on Wednesday, this time to the Los Angeles Clippers by as many as 23 points.
But this time, the Lakers weren’t able to come back and win.
They did make a bit of a run in the fourth quarter to make things interesting, coming to within 10, but the Clippers were simply too much.
Kawhi Leonard and company came out red-hot early, jumping out to a 9-0 lead, and they seemingly couldn’t miss from 3-point range, as they went 15-of-23 from that distance in the first half.
The Purple and Gold also got outrebounded 47-32, as their lack of size and length were evident in the paint and while rotating defensively.
It all resulted in a 133-115 loss, which was the Lakers’ fifth loss in their last eight games.
LeBron James: A+
James did just about all he could to try to make this game competitive. He had that look on his face that seemed to say, “I’m not letting my team lose tonight.”
He shot 16-of-29 and finished with 46 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals. For a change, he got hot from downtown by hitting 9-of-14 from 3-point range, which set a new career-high for most made treys in a single game.
Unfortunately, he got very little help at both ends of the floor. With the game out of reach, head coach Darvin Ham took James out with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter.
Troy Brown Jr.: C
Brown was pretty much almost a non-factor in this game. He shot 3-of-7 overall and 1-of-5 from downtown, giving him seven points, three assists, one rebound and one blocked shot in 28 minutes.
With new acquisition Rui Hachimura set to possibly make his Lakers debut on Wednesday, Brown may become the odd man out in the rotation, especially if Hachimura gets significant playing time at the 3.
Thomas Bryant: B+
Bryant gave the Lakers a bit of a lift by scoring 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, to go along with seven rebounds.
However, his lack of defense is apparent, which allowed the Clippers to break down the Lakers through dribble penetration, which set up their 19 made 3-pointers.
Patrick Beverley: D
Beverley had some moments where he played some harassing defense, especially when the Lakers made their attempt at a run in the fourth quarter. But overall, he was very ineffective.
He finished the game going 1-of-8 overall and 1-of-6 from 3-point land, scoring just three points to go along with four assists, two boards and one steal.
Dennis Schroder: D
The Lakers needed another good game from Schroder, but he instead went 3-of-9 and scored just seven points in 32 minutes. He wasn’t aggressive enough, and he wasn’t able to find many seams in the Clippers’ defense.
Wenyen Gabriel: B+
Gabriel showed lots of hustle in the first half, as he did quite the job on the offensive boards early. In the third quarter, he also recovered a loose ball that led to a Troy Brown Jr. 3-pointer.
However, his effectiveness waned in the second half, and he wasn’t able to do much defensively against the Clippers’ skilled and talented frontcourt players.
Gabriel finished with eight points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
Juan Toscano-Anderson: D+/C-
Toscano-Anderson had four points on 2-of-5 shooting in 12 minutes, and he missed both of his 3-point attempts.
Other than James, the Lakers were just 7-of-26 from downtown for a chilly accuracy of just 26.9 percent.
Russell Westbrook: D+
None of the Lakers’ guards played well, and that included Westbrook. He was just 4-of-13 from the field, and he even struggled from the free throw line, going 8-of-13 from there.
Westbrook managed to score 17 points while adding five assists and two steals, but he was almost a non-factor, and he was involved in the play that halted the team’s budding fourth-quarter momentum.
When the Lakers got to within 10, he threw a bad inbound pass that went into the backcourt. Schroder tried to retrieve the ball there and make a pass while on the ground, but it went to Leonard, who scored and was fouled.
That miscue by Westbrook and Schroder poured some cold water on the Lakers’ comeback attempt.
Max Christie: B
In 17 minutes, Christie showed some solid defensive effort, even if he wasn’t able to slow down Leonard, who shot 11-of-16 and scored 25 points. The rookie was 2-of-3 overall and 1-of-2 from downtown, and he finished with five points, two rebounds and one steal.
Cole Swider, Damian Jones, Scotty Pippen Jr.: Incomplete
All three got five minutes of playing time each in garbage time. Pippen converted one basket on a high-arching baseline shot, but Swider and Jones went scoreless.
Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire