The Los Angeles Lakers did all they can to mount an unlikely comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. LeBron James, in particular, carried his team with another mind-blowing performance for the 38-year-old. In the end, however, his heroics was all in vain as the Lakers suffered their 10th consecutive loss against their cross-town rivals.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Lakers were able to cut the deficit to just 10 points after the Clippers amassed a seemingly insurmountable 77-54 lead at halftime. That was as close as they were going to get, though, with Kawhi Leonard leading an 8-0 charge to bring the lead back up to 18. At that point, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham decided to raise the white flag by pulling his starters from the game, despite still having five minutes remaining in the final quarter.
After the loss, coach Ham explained his decision to pull the plug early on his team:
“The NBA level is based on runs,” he said, via Alex Kirschenbaum of SI.com “Every team is going to make them. They made theirs, we made ours, and then they started going into another one. And with another game to play tonight, a quick turnaround, I didn’t want to run our guys in the ground, as much as we can. The beautiful thing about this league is you get to do it all over again so you don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. The Clippers are a hell of a ball club… We have business to do tomorrow, have to fill our cups back up, and get ready to go to battle against a young, aggressive, athletic, energetic San Antonio ball club.”
Ham did praise his boys for their valiant effort against the Clippers, though. LeBron ended up with 46 points on 16-of-29 shooting, nine triples, eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals, a block, and zero turnovers in a majestic performance that ended up getting wasted yet again.
As coach Ham said, the Lakers have another game coming up on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. He clearly had one eye set out on this game as he watched his players attempt a comeback against the Clippers, and in the end, he knew when it was time to call it a day.