USA About: Lakers Publish: 03/04/2022 Edit: 03/04/2022 Author: Gardener
LOS ANGELES -- So many times have the Clippers struggled to fend off the Laker invaders in the stands of their own home games. But on Thursday night, the Crypto.com Arena belonged to the Clippers — more specifically, Reggie Jackson, who had the charismatic appeal of a rock star giving his final encore. Jackson was already at his peak of the season when fans started chanting to him, “REG-GIE! REG-GIE!” And twice the bespectacled guard was obligated, sinking a 3-pointer over LeBron James and finishing a hard layup in the heart of the Lakers defense – which admittedly hadn't shown much backbone for most of the evening. "We just want to build something special here," Jackson said. "I appreciate the chants, but more importantly, I appreciate the way our fanbase comes out and supports the entire Clipper Nation. The result was close through a half. There were a handful of dunks and blocked shots and all the other high points one would expect in a true rivalry game between evenly matched opponents. And with a dramatic surge in the third quarter, the Clippers -- even without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George or Norman Powell -- provided a reminder of why they beat the Lakers seven straight times. Jackson flapped, Ivica Zubac hammered, and the Lakers (27-35) wobbled after a 132-111 loss to the Clippers that didn't just decide who called the shots in L. The Clippers have now five straight games and won seven of their last eight, battling against all odds to try and avoid the play-in tournament. They have won every game of in-arena rivalry (7-0) since Tyronn Lue became their head coach. The Lakers, on the other hand, have now lost 11 of 14 overall and four in a row since the All-Star break -- even if they make the play-in tournament, it seems inevitable that significant organizational changes will follow at the end of the season. A 40-18 Clippers run in the third quarter turned a 3-point play into a loss at halftime. Within that framework, the Clippers scored 23 unanswered points over more than five minutes, starting with a Marcus Morris Sr. vaulter and ending with a layup by Jackson. Jackson, in particular, was a threat as he hit nine of his season bests of 36 points during the landmark rally while also notching nine assists and eight rebounds. In that crucial stretch, the Lakers missed 10 consecutive shots and had two turnovers. Although coach Frank Vogel reduced the lineup early in the third quarter, they all failed shots at once: Among the misses were three looks at the rim. Team top stars James and Russell Westbrook combined just 15-to-34 shooting for 43 points. It had taken a furious rally from the Lakers to wrap things up. They were down 17 in the second quarter after notoriously slow starts in the first half, particularly on defence. The Clippers made seven of their first eight 3-pointers, a testament to both Jackson's and Luke Kennard's sharp shots and the inattention of the Lakers' defense. Out of nowhere, the Lakers put together a 14-0 rally highlighted by alley-oop dunks from Westbrook and Malik Monk (both without Austin Reaves assists). "There are tracks where we really play," said Westbrook. James had 18 points at halftime but only scored eight for the rest of the evening. For the game, the Clippers shot 54.8% from the field, including 17 to 27 from 3-point range. But more than any statistic, the pride of claiming the floor in the home arena this season has been the brightest spot. Said Jackson, "I never put a cap on anything."
Keywords: Clippers, Jackson, 3, the third quarter, Lakers, eight, seven, nine, 17, 14, James, season, first, five, three, two, four, night, 43, 36, 27, 23, 18, 11, 10, Said Jackson, 54.8%, Austin Reaves, Westbrook and Malik Monk, Luke Kennard's, the first half, the second quarter, just 15