Brandon Ingram holds the ball against the LA Clippers on Dec. 29, 2017.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers Can't Recover From Slow Start Against Clippers

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

The Lakers went with a new, untraditional starting lineup, but it didn’t provide different results for a team that has now lost five straight games.

The purple and gold fell into a 19-3 hole to begin the game against the LA Clippers, who went on to capture a 121-106 victory.

“Guys and teams have hit us in the mouth, and I don’t think we’ve done a good job of responding,” said Brandon Ingram, who had a scoreless first half but finished with 18 points.

The Lakers (15-19) moved Ingram from his usual small forward position to starting point guard. They also started Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle.

Head coach Luke Walton was unsure if he will continue to open games with that unit, but its maiden voyage saw the Clippers (15-19) lead by 13 at the end fo the first quarter.

“I just don’t think we were ready, for whatever reason, to engage in the fight,” Walton said.

The Lakers actually shot a slightly better percentage than their across-the-hall foes, but couldn’t match their production from the 3-point and free throw lines.

The Clippers made nine more triples and 17 more foul shots. Blake Griffin led them with 24 points and 11 free throws, while Lou Williams shot just 4-of-14 from the field yet scored 23 points thanks to 13 at the charity stripe.

“We didn’t play any defense,” Walton said. “… First half, they moved the ball freely wherever they wanted. We have to get back to taking pride in being a defensive team first.”

Unfortunately for Walton and his team, defensive struggles have hit the Lakers hard recently.

In their last three games — all without injured point guard Lonzo Ball (a reliable defender) and center Brook Lopez (who contests the most shots in the NBA) — the Lakers have allowed 117 points per game — eight more than their previous season average.

“We just didn’t compete on the defensive end,” Ingram said. “That’s kind of been the story these past three games.”

Notes
Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points and eight assists. … The Lakers scored 70 points in the paint. … DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers. … A crowd of 18,997 sold out STAPLES Center.

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