Despite losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, the LA Clippers proved that the other LA team is still scared and have no real answers.
Sunday’s 112-103 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers wasn’t great. The LA Clippers had small leads here and there but the Lakers came out and dominated the second half of the matinee game. Despite the loss, it was evident early on that the game meant something more to the Lakers and that they are in fact still worried about this Clippers’ roster.
LeBron James started the game guarding Kawhi Leonard, which isn’t abnormal in and of itself. There was also a higher level of intensity, something made evidently by both rosters. No, neither of these instances showed the Lakers’ fear but their gameplan hinted at it.
Head coach Frank Vogel may have shown his hand. The Lakers staggered LeBron James and Anthony Davis‘ minutes, allowing the Lakers to have one of their two best players on the court the entire game (minus garbage time). Typically, this kind of move is reserved for the playoffs and was done due to the Lakers not having the same talent six through ten on their bench as the Clips. The Lakers have employed this strategy for the majority of the season so what happens come playoffs?
The Clippers, meanwhile, continued to use their typical rotation, playing ten guys in meaningful minutes. That alone should show that this one meant a little more to the Lakers and they were desperate to win.
Still, there was more. The Lakers actively worked to get Lou Williams switched onto LeBron James. No, this isn’t an unheard of strategy by Clippers’ opponents but the Lakers seemed even more desperate to make it happen. LeBron was also laying out on the floor. There was him screaming to the crowd after a late and-one.
There was Anthony Davis laying his body on the line several times. The combination of these and more just showed that the Lakers wanted it more. Keep in mind, it’s March 8.
The Los Angeles Lakers could not afford to lose this game. They couldn’t go down 3-0 to the “baby brother”. I get it and so does all of Clipper Nation. They treated it like a playoff game and rightfully won. There’s no question that they outplayed the Clippers.
But think about it. If the Clippers also treated this like a playoff game, would it be a different story? The Clippers had great output from Paul George and Kawhi Leonard but none of their role players outside of Montrezl Harrell could do a thing. Avery Bradley scored his season-high. How often do those things happen in a seven-game series?
That thought has to be lingering in the back of the collective Lakers’ mind. It scares them.