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Kawhi Leonard, Paul George’s reaction to loss vs. Lakers

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Clippers, Lakers

LOS ANGELES – The LA Clippers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon, 112-103, in round 3 of the Battle for LA. The loss marked the first time all season that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s team lost when they were at full strength.

George led the way in scoring for the Clippers with 31 points, six rebounds, three assists, and three steals on 9-of-16 shooting. Leonard added 27 points and two rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting. It was the first time all season, however, that he finished without an assist.

The Clippers finished with a season-low 10 assists as the ball movement they displayed during their six-game winning streak essentially disappeared.

“We really didn’t play with too much pace tonight,” said Kawhi Leonard. “We kind of came in the game on our heels a little bit. Even though we was up, it really didn’t feel like we had a good rhythm out there and I think that pretty much carried over to the second half.”

The Clippers had just four assists in the second half as most of their points came from the free throw line, on offensive rebounds, or off isolation plays. To make matters worse, the only ones who really scored in isolation were Leonard, George, and Montrezl Harrell.

Lou Williams struggled shooting at just 3-of-11 from the field. JaMychal Green was 1-of-5 shooting. Marcus Morris was 0-of-9 from the field, including 0-of-7 from beyond the arc.

“We gotta give them a lot of credit,” added Patrick Beverley postgame. “They came in trying to win a basketball game today. They took it personal. Like I said you have to give them a lot of credit. It’s one game, of course, living in in LA man it’s hard to deal with this loss but we have to wash it down the shower, keep getting better, and we will.”

All in all, the seven Clippers players who played not named Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, or Montrezl Harrell combined to shoot just 9-of-45 from the field for only 25 points. That’s not going to get it done against a fantastic defensive team like the Lakers, but it also likely won’t happen again.

“I think they’re doing good, they just didn’t knock down shots tonight,” added Leonard on the Clippers’ key role players tonight. “It was one of those days. They got some good looks just didn’t go down and we just gotta keep rolling and bounce back.”

The Clippers won the first two games of the four-game series on Opening Night and Christmas Day, respectively. Both games were tightly-contested and had an intense playoff atmosphere. Third time was a charm for the Lakers, who were led by Anthony Davis’ 30 points and eight rebounds. LeBron James’ had a near triple-double of 28 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.

“[We feel] good,” George relayed after the game when asked about the team’s feelings right now. “It’s hard to beat any team three times in this league. Y’all know that. It just is what it is. They beat us in the third game. We got another one. It doesn’t set us back. They played. They were the team that really wanted it. They went and got it today. We have to play them one more time. Life goes on. We’re not down about it. Just keep it rolling.”

Leonard echoed similar sentiments after the game, saying the Clippers can take a lot away from a loss like Sunday’s.

“I mean, there’s not really a good loss, but there’s always things you can take away and learn from losses. Just gotta watch film and pretty much see what happened and what we didn’t do right.”

All things considered, the Clippers were in a surprisingly good position to win Sunday’s game multiple times, but came up short while the Lakers made a handful of big plays on both ends.

The loss moved the Clippers to 10-1 when fully healthy, 23-8 when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George play, and 20-5 when the trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Patrick Beverley all play.

Up next is the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday afternoon before a home back-to-back set against the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans.