The Los Angeles Lakers scored the first 13 points of the second half to take their first lead in a 111-102 victory Sunday at Staples Center ending their 11-game losing streak against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Center Timofey Mozgov scored six points during the run, Luol Deng four and D’Angelo Russell made a 3-point basket as the Lakers turned a 58-55 halftime deficit into a 68-58 lead in the opening three minutes, 48 seconds of the second half.
Mozgov had four points and Nick Young a 3-point basket during a 9-0 run later in the third quarter that gave the Lakers a 85-67 lead with 3:12 left in the quarter. They led 89-74 at the of the third quarter before a sell out crowd announced at 18,887.
The Clippers scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 89-85 with 8:53 remaining. Austin Rivers and Marreese Speights opened the run with 3-point baskets. Jamal Crawford made three free throws and Speights two to conclude the run.
Rivers’ layup with 6:04 to play again pulled the Clippers to within four, 94-90, with 6:04 to play, but they were unable to get any closer in their first loss to the Lakers since Oct. 29, 2013, the opening game of the 2013-14 season. Their winning streak against the Lakers began on Jan. 10, 2014.
“In the fourth quarter, we got back in the game and we had a crack at it, but at that point, we’d have to play almost mistake-free basketball and we couldn’t do it,” Crawford said.
Mozgov and Young each scored 19 points, with all five Lakers starters finishing in double figures along with reserves Lou Williams (14) and Brandon Ingram (10). Young had the game’s best plus-minus, plus-25, meaning the Lakers outscored the Clippers by 25 while he was in the game.
Crawford and JJ Redick each had 22 for the Clippers (22-10). Speights was the only Clipper to have a positive plus-minus at plus-seven. DeAndre Jordan had the worst at minus-14.
The Clippers played without eight-time all-star guard Chris Paul and five-time all-star forward Blake Griffin.
“In the third quarter I thought we took our jobs very seriously,” Laker coach Luke Walton said. “First half I thought we looked sloppy, which I expected because we haven’t been on a basketball court since the five-hour flight from Orlando.
In the third quarter, I thought our guys came out ready and locked in, mainly defensively. Transition defense was terrible in the first half and we did a much better job at taking away easy baskets, including in transition, and that’s the way we need to play.”
Paul missed his second consecutive game because of a strained left hamstring sustained in Thursday’s 106-101 victory over San Antonio. The Clippers are 0-2 in his absence. Paul is considered “day-to-day,” a team official said.
Griffin missed his fourth consecutive game after undergoing what the team described as a “successful routine arthroscopic procedure” Tuesday to remove loose bodies from his right knee. He is expected to be sidelined four-to- six weeks. The Clippers are 2-2 during his absence.
The victory ended a four-game losing streak for the Lakers (12-22), who had lost 12 of their previous 13 games.
The victory was the 22nd for the Lakers on Christmas, tying them with the New York Knicks for the most in NBA history. The Lakers are 22-21 on Christmas, while New York is 22-29, including a 119-114 loss to the Boston Celtics earlier Sunday.
The Lakers were playing on Christmas for the 18th consecutive year. They had lost six of their last seven Christmas Day games, including a 94-84 loss to the Clippers last year. The Lakers last previous victory on Christmas was in 2012, when they defeated the Knicks, 100-94.
The last time the Lakers didn’t play on Christmas was in 1998 when the owners lockout of the players delayed the start of the season until February.
—City News Service
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