Lakers tip their hats to Clippers: 3 takeaways from the game

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  • Los Angeles Clippers
    Los Angeles Clippers
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  • Los Angeles Lakers
    Los Angeles Lakers
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  • Anthony Davis
    Anthony Davis
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LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - DEC. 3, 2021. Lakers guard Malik Monk drives and scores against the Clippers in the fourth quarter of Friday night's game, Dec. 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Malik Monk drives down the lane for a basket against the Clippers on Friday night at Staples Center. Monk had 20 points off the bench. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Minutes after the game had ended in a Lakers loss, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo convened in the locker room to watch a replay of the back-breaking three-pointer by Marcus Morris Sr. that drove the final stake into their hearts.

On this three-pointer by the Clippers, at least, the Lakers had played better defense than on the previous two made by Luke Kennard.

Davis had contested the shot, extending his right hand high in the air, just not high enough to stop Morris from banking in the three-pointer for a six-point Clippers lead with seven seconds left.

“You tip your hat to him,” Davis said.

Here are three takeaways from the Lakers’ 119-115 loss to the Clippers on Friday night at Staples Center:

1) The Lakers’ three-point defense was exploited by the Clippers in the fourth quarter.

Even if the Lakers felt like they played good defense against the Clippers’ three-point shooters, they still saw their counterparts make all five of their treys in the fourth.

Kennard hit three of them, his three-pointer with one minute 12 seconds left putting the Lakers in a 113-109 hole and his three-pointer with 37.5 seconds to play leaving the Lakers down 116-111.

Then the Morris three-pointer closed the door.

For the game, the Lakers let the Clippers make 45.7% of their three-point shots.

“We were just a step late,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We had one breakdown where we left Luke in the corner, and a couple where AD had great contests on guys. They made tough shots.”

2) Davis twice stepped to the free-throw line late in the game with an opportunity to tie the score. He was unable to convert either shot.

In many ways, the difficulty Davis had at the free-throw line was a team-wide issue.

The Lakers made just 61.9% of their free throws, going 13 for 21.

Davis was seven for 11 from the line.

He had two free throws with 6:02 left and the Lakers down two, but Davis made just one.

He had two free throws with 4:47 left and the Lakers down two, but Davis again made just one.

“It starts with me. I missed four,” Davis said about the Lakers’ free-throw woes. “They were in-and-out. They were good looks.... As far as us, we have to be better. Go up there and take our time. Just let it go with confidence. We work on them in practice, shoot them in practice and hopefully in the game, we knock them down.”

3) Malik Monk missed all three of his shots in the first half and didn’t score.

But he was a different player in the second half, scoring 20 points.

He was eight for 12 from the field, four for six from three-point range.

“You never know how it’s going to go,” Monk said. “I might have a night like tonight, or I might have six points. You never know how it’s going to go, but I just got to try to find easy buckets.”

Lakers center Dwight Howard challenges a shot by Clippers center Ivaca Zubac.
Lakers center Dwight Howard challenges a shot by Clippers center Ivaca Zubac in the second quarter Friday night. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.