Lou Williams scored a season-high 36 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers scored 22 consecutive points during the second half of a 118-107 victory over the depleted Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Danilo Gallinari added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who held the Lakers without a field goal for more than six minutes late in the first meeting of the season between the Staples Center co-tenants and Los Angeles rivals. The Clippers have won 22 of their last 25 meetings with the Lakers, yet still trail the 16-time NBA champions 146-70 in the overall series.
Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Lonzo Ball had 19 for the Lakers, who played without LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. The remaining Lakers lost for the fifth time in seven games, including back-to-back defeats for only the third time since October.
James watched from the bench in street clothes after causing a pregame stir on social media when he entered the Lakers’ locker room holding a glass of wine. The noted oenophile and four-time NBA MVP is day-to-day with his strained groin, but James isn’t expected to miss as much time as Rondo, who is out for at least a month after surgery on his right index finger.
Both teams representing this basketball-loving city missed the playoffs last season, but both are off to winning starts this year. The Lakers have been revitalized around James, while the Clippers have formed a surprisingly strong core after shedding longtime mainstays Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul over the previous year.
The Clippers turned a seven-point deficit into a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter of their fourth win in five games.
Williams torched his former team yet again, scoring 23 points in the second half. He hit three 3-pointers, including a decisive shot with 2:23 to play, and had seven rebounds while making all 11 of his free throws.
Josh Hart scored 12 points for the Lakers before getting ejected with 4:41 left after he was infuriated that Tobias Harris wasn’t called for pushing off. Lakers coach Luke Walton also got a technical foul in the exchange.
One night after losing at Sacramento on a buzzer-beating 3, the Lakers again couldn’t win without three veteran regulars.
Ball had another fascinating game as the Lakers’ starting point guard, juxtaposing his exceptional defense and sublime passing with basic mistakes and an erratic shot.
Ingram and Ball both picked up four fouls during the third quarter, but neither team made a big move until the Clippers scored the final nine points of the quarter and continued their one-sided run well into the fourth.
Clippers: Williams hit a 3-pointer from just past halfcourt at the halftime buzzer. … They have won four straight “road” games against the Lakers, but lost their last “home” game in the series.
Lakers: German rookie Isaac Bonga was recalled to fill a roster spot amid the injury absences. … The Lakers showed why they’re the NBA’s worst team at the line by missing more free throws in the first quarter (7) than the Pistons, Pacers, Bulls, Wizards, Raptors, Magic, Hornets, Nets, Heat, Cavaliers and Pelicans missed in their entire games Friday. … Michael Beasley is still away from the team after his mother’s death.
Clippers: Host San Antonio on Saturday.
Lakers: Host Sacramento on Sunday.
Source: The Associated Press