No sweat for Clippers in Easter win against Lakers

LOS ANGELES – There was no Lebron James muscling his way to the basket. There was no shot-blocking Anthony Davis to worry about. That made the Easter Sunday game against the Los Angeles Lakers a little bit easier for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Easter showdown between the two favorites in the Western Conference would wind up going the Los Angeles Clippers’ (33-18) way.

The Clippers dominated the Lakers (31-19) from start to finish in defeating their city rivals,104-86.

Never leading once in the game, the Lakers continue to struggle without James and Davis, both of whom, sat out the game due to injuries. For the Clippers, Marcus Morris Sr. led the way in scoring as he finished with 22 points on the day which included 11 of those points in the first quarter.

Facing his twin brother, Markieff, for the first time as starters on different teams, Morris was grateful for the chance to get an opportunity to take it to his brother with his family watching in the stands.

“It’s special. [The] First time we had actually started against each other,” Marcus Morris said. “This was the first time we had actually defended each other since jump ball.”

In his debut with the team, newly added Rajon Rondo played 13 minutes and provided the team with 2 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Rondo did commit four turnovers, including a turnover on his first possession as a Clipper.

For head coach Tyronn Lue, working Rondo into the rotation and getting him up to game speed with the team is something he knows will take time as the veteran familiarizes himself with the play calling.

“He’s just trying to fit in and get his timing, a little rusty with a couple of turnovers early,” Lue said. “You could just tell his pace brings a different something to our team.”

After ending the first quarter with a seven-point lead, the Clippers were able to take advantage of 11 first-half Laker turnovers and extended their lead to over 20 points at one point during the first half. Despite committing 10 turnovers of their own in the half, the Clippers’ defense was able to limit the damage and keep the Lakers to only 9 total points off those turnovers for the entire game.

“I thought tonight we were great defensively,” Lue said.

Leading the game wire-to-wire, the Clippers again proved to be deadly from beyond the arc as they continue to be the best shooting team in the league from deep. Knocking down 14 three-pointers on the game, the Clippers shot 50% from three as they continue to dominate games in which they shot over 45% from three.

If the Clippers continue this hot stretch of shooting for the rest of the season, they will become the first team in NBA history to shoot over 80 percent from the free-throw line and over 40 percent from beyond the arc. This potent offense has only gotten better as the team continues to work their way back to full strength.

With guard Patrick Beverly and forward Serge Ibaka continuing to be sidelined due to injuries, players such as Luke Kennard and Terrance Mann continue to get big-time minutes down the stretch of games. For Kennard, he ended his night with 15 points which included going 3-6 from deep to keep him among one of the best three-point shooters on the season in the league.

Los Angeles continues their long homestand with a game against the Portland Trailblazers (30-19) Tuesday night. The Blazers currently sit in the sixth spot in the west and if the playoffs were to begin today, they would face the Clippers in the first round. Portland has been playing well in of late, going 7-3 over their last ten games including a (15-9) overall record on the road this season.

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