LOS ANGELES—On Tuesday January 24, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers for the 10th consecutive time, 133-115 at Crypto.com arena.
It was a blowout win where the Clippers dominated the purple and gold from tip-off, behind a barrage of three pointers and shot blocking at will. The Clippers scored 77 points in the first half, while knocking down an astounding 15 three-point shots; an NBA high mark in 2023.
Losing the rebounding battle 47-32, the bright spot for the Lakers was LeBron James with a strong 46-point performance.
The opening frame was all Clippers who started on a 9-0 run and were a perfect 4-4 from the field. Yes, the Lakers settled down with Russell Westbrook scoring 7 points and Wenyen Gabriel adding to the bench mob with half a dozen, but the Lakers couldn’t get a lead or establish control.
After a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Terrance Mann, the Clippers led by seven after one. The rest of the first half was a reminder that when the Clippers are firing on all cylinders, they are as good as anybody. Having too much size with wings like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the undersized Lakers to handle. Midway through the second, the lead ballooned to 23 points.
The 3-point shots kept falling, and the Lakers kept missing as only James was doing anything offensively. By the start of the fourth, the Lakers trailed by 16 and the only question left was if LeBron would get his first 40-point performance against the Clippers, the only team he had yet to score 40 on in his career.
After the loss, coach Ham explained his decision to pull the plug early on his team:
“The NBA level is based on runs,” he said. “Every team is going to make them. They made theirs, we made ours, and then they started going into another one.”
“I was able to make a few shots tonight and try to help us stay in the game,” James said. “But the Clippers, they are really good. Exceptionally good when they’re shooting the 3-ball, and tonight they did that.”
James ramped up his chase of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record with his 101st 40-point game, including the postseason. He trails Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) by just 177 points, putting him in position to potentially break the record at the end of the Lakers’ upcoming five-game road swing instead of back home in Los Angeles.
Paul George had 27 points and nine rebounds, and Leonard added 25 points in the Clippers’ third straight win.
Superstar power forward Anthony Davis returned to the Lakers on Wednesday, January 25. The Clippers host the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night.