Jordan Clarkson vs. Clippers
Jordan Clarkson releases a shot over a pair of Clippers on Jan. 7.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Clarkson, Black Show Promise

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

On a night when little looked bright for the Lakers, rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black offered a silver lining in the team’s 114-89 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday.

With usual starting point guard Ronnie Price sidelined due to a broken nose and flulike symptoms, Clarkson played extensive minutes (20) as Jeremy Lin’s backup.

The Missouri product finished with a season-high 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting, while also collecting four rebounds and a pair of assists. However, Clarkson didn’t truly turn it on until the fourth quarter, by which time both teams had begun resting their starters for the night.

Clarkson seized this opportunity, playing all 12 minutes of the final period and knocking down five of his six shots for 10 points.

Jordan Clarkson Shot Chart
Jordan Clarkson Shot Chart vs. Clippers

“I thought the game kind of slowed down for him,” head coach Byron Scott said at Thursday’s practice. “Like I said, with him it’s just a matter of just getting that experience. … When he gets in, he goes 110 miles per hour, and so does the game.

“He has to learn as a young point guard and a young player that you’ve got to go at different speeds — because he has the speed, the quickness, to get by people. Sometimes you just got to slow it down and then burst.”

Like Clarkson, Black played every second of the fourth quarter. Black showed promise in his Lakers debut, scoring five points by going 2-for-4 from the field, which included a three-point play on a slam dunk over Spencer Hawes.

Anchoring the defense, Black and the other Laker bench players held the Clippers to 15 fourth-quarter points, including just four in the paint — though none of the Clippers starters played in the final frame.

“(I see) a guy that communicates pretty well, is quick, light on his feet, and is very athletic,” Scott said after Thursday’s game. “I like what I saw in the few minutes that he got. Hopefully I can get him in there a little more to see what he has got.”

Scott also foresees Clarkson’s minutes increasing as well, predicting he will play “a little bit more on a consistent basis” in 15-20 games.

In the meantime, the rookies will have the opportunity to prove themselves not only in limited minutes and at practice, but also with the Lakers’ D-League affiliate: the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

Both players have already proven capable of thriving in the D-League’s hyper-quick style, as Clarkson poured in a game-high 35 points and 11 assists in the D-Fenders’ last home game on Jan. 3. Black, meanwhile, tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds in his D-Fenders debut.

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