Ball’s debut unimpressive in Lakers’ loss to Clippers
LOS ANGELES — The debut of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball was highly anticipated for an organization that has missed the playoffs each of the past four seasons.
The Los Angeles Clippers reminded Ball and the Lakers how much work they still have ahead.
The Clippers continued their recent domination of the Lakers with a 108-92 victory Thursday night in the season opener for both teams at Staples Center.
The Clippers have won 19 of the past 21 meetings with the Lakers since the start of the 2012-13 season.
Blake Griffin had 29 points and 12 rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points and 24 rebounds to lead the Clippers.
“Our defense was on point tonight,” new Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley said. “If we lay our hat on defense, we’ll put ourselves in good position to win basketball games.”
Ball, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft in June, finished with three points, nine rebounds, four assists and two turnovers while shooting 1 of 6 from the floor in his first NBA regular-season game.
Beverley guarded Ball when they shared the court and didn’t give the rookie much room to work.
“He’s a great talent, but he’s got to go through the tough times,” Beverley said. “He’ll be better for it.”
Brook Lopez led the Lakers with 20 points, Jordan Clarkson scored 18 off the bench, and Larry Nance Jr. finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Beverley, Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari made their debuts for the Clippers, and each scored in double figures. Williams scored 12 points off the bench, Gallinari had 11 and Beverley finished with 10.
The Clippers owned a 31-10 advantage in second-chance points.
“They killed us on second-chance points,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
Over the previous five seasons, the Clippers outscored the Lakers by an average of 15.4 points, the largest average margin of victory one team had over another in the same conference during that span.
The Clippers led by as many as 15 points in the first half before taking a 53-42 advantage into the break.
Griffin scored 18 points in the first half and Jordan grabbed 16 rebounds, better than his 13.8 average last season, which tied for second in the NBA.
The Clippers surged to a 13-4 advantage before the Lakers took their only lead at 17-15 when Julius Randle finished off a fastbreak.
The Clippers finished the first quarter on a 12-2 run to take 27-19 lead into the second. Clarkson scored the first five points of the second quarter to get the Lakers within four points, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way.
“The crowd was ready to get going. We had a couple little runs where they got loud,” Walton said. “We couldn’t maintain it because we weren’t making shots.”
Ball missed his first three field-goal attempts and both free throws before making his only basket, a 3-pointer, with 4:49 left in the first half. Ball didn’t collect his first assist until Lopez converted a jump hook with 1:29 remaining in the second quarter.
Ball returned to action Thursday after sitting out the last four preseason games due to an ankle injury he sustained Oct. 2.
“Lonzo, the way he plays the game, it’s such a feel thing for him that I think he was out there feeling it out,” Walton said. “He likes to take his time and not force things, which is good and what becoming a player in this league is about.”
The Clippers led 86-63 after three quarters and by as many as 30 in the fourth.
“I wasn’t happy with what we gave our fans tonight,” Walton said. “There were boos going on that we deserved.”
NOTES: The Clippers featured nine newcomers on their 14-man roster, the most new players on any Western Conference team. ... Clippers C DeAndre Jordan became the first player in franchise history to play 10 seasons with the team. ... Lakers C Brook Lopez, who made 134 3-pointers for the Brooklyn Nets last season after combining for three in his first eight NBA seasons, shot 1 of 5 from beyond the arc. ... Lakers PF Julius Randle played 18 reserve minutes, and his team was outscored by 25 points while he was in the game. He scored nine points. “When he stepped on the court, he wasn’t ready to go like he has been the past week,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “When you get put in the game, you have to be ready at that moment.”