Every time the Lakers made a run to make the game close, the Clippers responded, despite not having key personnel in Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum.
The Lakers’ inability to get stops, especially late in the game, played an important factor in that. Head coach Frank Vogel discussed how the Lakers performed on that end with their rotations when blitzing Paul George.
“We trust our rotations. We feel really good about our ability to get the ball out of somebody like Paul (George)’s hands and scramble around the perimeter and get to their shooters,” Vogel said. “We were just a step late. We had one breakdown where we left Luke (Kennard) open in the corner and a couple others where AD got a great contest on guys. “They made tough shots, but we trust our rotations in those situations.”
There were several instances when James and Russell Westbrook — James had multiple in the fourth quarter when playing center — got too aggressive when jumping the passing lane, leading to defensive breakdowns that resulted in open shots and dunks for the Clippers.
Vogel said he wants his stars to balance taking those opportunities while operating with the scheme in mind.
“Well, it hurt some tonight, clearly,” Vogel said. “But those guys have great instincts. We want them to stay within our scheme, and if there are opportunistic situations to go for a steal like that, I trust those guys’ instincts. Tonight was just one of those nights where we didn’t get ’em, and it ended up hurting us.”
The Lakers don’t play again until Tuesday, so watching the film to improve for the game against the Boston Celtics will be imperative to avoid dropping to 12-13.
Lakers player grades: L.A. never had lead in loss to Clippers