Lakers snap 11-game skid to Clippers in thrilling OT win

Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports
The Lakers last beat the Clippers in July 2020 in the Disneyworld Bubble.

LOS ANGELES — One day, we will see this in the postseason.

But the Lakers and the Clippers put on a hell of a contest at the start of November. The Clippers had a huge lead. The Lakers came back, got the advantage, and had a pretty good lead with two minutes left. The Clips then countered with quick points and they went to overtime. And the game was still there until a putback dunk from Christian Wood put away the game. The Lakers defeat the Clippers, 130-125, in an exciting extra innings game. The Clippers’ 11-game winning streak against the Lakers is over.

The Lakers were without Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, and Gabe Vincent. Taurean Prince was a late scratch so Cam Reddish got the start. On the other side, the Clippers didn’t have James Harden ready and Terance Mann continued to be out.

The Clippers jumped on the Lakers early. More specifically, Kawhi Leonard jumped on the Lakers. He scored 18 points in the first quarter as the Clips led, 37-18. It was a good thing that Wood and Max Christie (good to see him on the court!) closed the first with consecutive triples to make it 37-24 entering the second quarter.

It was an even second quarter for the Los Angeles teams. While the Lakers did their best to come back, the Clips still had Russell Westbrook, Norman Powell, and Paul George to deal with. The Lakers also had 12 turnovers in that first half and, once again, their bad defensive habits were on display. The Clips led, 61-48, by the halftime break.

It was a tale of two halves, really. In the second half, the Lakers got more physical and were stuck to the Clippers like glue. We even saw a giant line-up with the Lakers as they had Anthony Davis, Jaxson Hayes, Christian Wood, Max Christie, and Austin Reaves on the floor. The Lakers tightened up on both ends. Heck, Austin Reaves tightened Norman Powell’s feet on the floor.

The Lake Show outscored the Clips, 39-24, in the third period. They had the lead going into the fourth, 87-85.

LeBron James got on a roll in the fourth. He went on a bucket binge, topping it off with a three that gave the Lakers a 108-100 lead. The lead was up to 113-104 after Davis had a breakaway dunk with just over two minutes left.

Then the Clippers caught fire late. Russell Westbrook made a three to cut the deficit to five. Paul George followed it with five quick points as it was sliced to a 115-114 lead. After two D’Angelo Russell free throws, George got fouled on a three-pointer by Reddish. PG made all three foul shots to tie the game. Russell’s three at the buzzer didn’t go and the L.A. teams went five more minutes.

After a Kawhi jumper, Paul George got his 6th foul. The Lakers took advantage and scored 7 in a row, which was punctuated by…

,..Austin. LeBron. Oops. They did it again. How is LeBron doing that in his 21st season?!

The Clippers wouldn’t go away. Kawhi made a three-pointer to cut the lead to 126-125. After Austin Reaves made two foul shots, the Clippers missed a couple of three-pointers. In the next possession, the Lakers were able to find Cam Reddish for a three. Reddish missed but Christian Wood finished it with a putback jam with 9 seconds left and a five-point lead. That was the game.

The Lakers used a short rotation; it seemed like they had no choice. Everyone got to shine in this game. LeBron James played 42 minutes and the old man looked like the LeBron… of old. Anthony Davis continues to dominate inside on both ends. D’Angelo Russell kept the team afloat with some sneaky lay-ups (he had a ton of those in the third). Austin Reaves got his groove back late in the game. Christian Wood had a silently excellent game on both ends (except for his very loud dunk to seal the game). Jaxson Hayes provided some energy (shouldn’t have gotten a technical foul on that dunk). Cam Reddish has been much-maligned in his NBA career but he played some excellent defense and made some good plays. And Max Christie stayed poised defensively even when he didn’t have a good shooting night.’

As mentioned earlier, the Lakers had 12 turnovers in the first half. But they only had two giveaways in the third and none in the fourth and overtime. They looked like a much different team. And they outscored the Clippers in transition, 23-9.

To give the Clippers credit, Paul George was scorching hot even in a second game of a back-to-back. If he didn’t foul out, we might have seen a different result. Both he and Kawhi were making so many tough shots. Russell Westbrook was very good in this game, too; we didn’t see a lot of that last year and I’m glad he’s playing so much more free here. They will be potentially terrifying once James Harden joins the fray. The Clips just seemed to run out of gas even though we know Kawhi is secretly a cyborg.

89-year-old LeBron James can still get it done: 35 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists. Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell each had 27 points; Davis also had 10 rebounds and four blocks. Austin Reaves ended with 15 while Christian Wood had a double-double at 10 points and 11 boards. As for the Clips, Kawhi Leonard led them with 38 points while Paul George had 35. Westbrook ended with 24-11-8 as well as four steals.

The Lakers are above .500 at 3-2; remember that they got to .500 last season with five games LEFT in the season. They have two days off before they go on a four-game trip on the road. They’re getting a near-immediate rematch with the Orlando Magic to start the trek.