Jordan Clarkson drives against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 20, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/

'The Rim Liked Me': Clarkson's Hot Night Across the Floor

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

It all stared with a simple backdoor cut.

On the heels of a career night, Jordan Clarkson gave credit to coach Luke Walton for drawing up a play to give him his first bucket of the game.

From there he went on to drop 33 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, missing just five of his 19 shots from the field in Friday’s win over Indiana.

According to Clarkson, “The rim liked me,” but there was more to his hot night than some friendly iron.

It began with simplicity, as Clarkson looked like a wide receiver running a route, selling his defender on going one direction before cutting down the baseline for one of his six layup attempts — all of which he made.

From there, the Lakers put the ball into Clarkson’s hands, and he didn’t disappoint.

With Lonzo Ball sidelined by injury, Clarkson was the team’s chief playmaker, particularly in pick-and-rolls.

While Clarkson usually keeps it simple in P&Rs, he had a few particularly nice reads in this one, including finding Josh Hart for a spot-up corner 3-pointer.

Clarkson also didn’t panic when met by adversity on most possessions.

This one starts off as a standard pick-and-roll, but he momentarily loses his handle and ends up surrounded by defenders.

Yet he remains calm and gets creative by locating Kyle Kuzma for the hook-pass assist.

Pick-and-rolls were also essential to getting Clarkson’s own scoring going.

The 25-year-old had been held to single-digit points in four of his last five games, but was able to find a nice balance of individual and team offense.

“I feel like I was speeding up a little bit,” Clarkson said. “Tonight I was slowing down, getting back to the basics.”

This play is in semi-transition, so Indiana’s defense isn’t entirely set. He snakes through two defenders in the P&R and Brook Lopez sneakily sets a second screen so Clarkson has a clean look from mid-range.

He sinks the pull-up on a night when he went 7-of-12 on jumpers.

Finally, Clarkson caught fire from deep in the final five minutes, hitting three 3-pointers to seal the game for the Lakers.

The first trey came in a crucial moment, as the Pacers had cut L.A.’s lead to two.

Walton drew up another play for Clarkson, who sauntered into the paint before immediately dashing back to the 3-point arc.

Larry Nance Jr. was waiting with a screen, and JC struck from deep, sealing the Lakers’ victory with 16 points in the fourth quarter.

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