West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Clippers, Timberwolves


The Lakers are just 1-3 since winning the In-Season Tournament championship. So that feels like a distant memory now. Kawhi Leonard defends LeBron James

The latest defeat came Monday, at home, against the Knicks. Anthony Davis scored 32 and LeBron James compiled the 109th triple-double of his career with 25 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. But the rest of the team shot just 33 percent from the field.

“I feel like our energy was up and down throughout the course of the game,” James told reporters. “We’ve been feeling it, definitely. Even through that, we still competed and gave ourselves a chance, but it’s a tough one for us.”

  • Defensively, the Lakers struggled to defend the basket. “It’s very rare we get outscored in the paint, and (the Knicks) were very deliberate in trying to play downhill, get to the paint, but just constantly coming at you,” coach Darvin Ham said. “I felt like they caught us standing a little bit.”
  • Added Davis: “It’s tough, (because) for the whole month of December, we’ve basically been on the road,” Davis said. “There’s nothing we can really do about it. It’s the schedule. We’ve just got to take care of our bodies and get some guys back, hopefully in the next couple of games. But it’s definitely a mental challenge.”


  • The Clippers have won an NBA-best eight straight, including five of the last six by double-digits. This marks their longest winning streak since 2015-16, when they won 10 straight. 
  • In Monday’s 151-127 road win over the Pacers, the Clippers posted the fourth-highest scoring total in franchise history and the highest of the season.
  • Forward Kawhi Leonard said the Clippers are focused on being efficient. “We’re not trying to play the score. We’re trying to win the quarters,” he told reporters. “And even if we have 20 points, we’ve still got to do our jobs and be efficient.”


The Timberwolves overcame a 17-point deficit and came roaring back for an impressive road win over the Heat on Monday, and this team looks to be for real. For now, Minnesota (20-5) is tied with the Celtics for the NBA’s best record.

“It takes for us to get punched in the face to wake up and do the things that we need to do,” center Rudy Gobert told reporters of the comeback win at Miami. “Every time we do the things that we’re supposed to do, especially defensively, we put ourselves in position to win the game.”

  • Minnesota’s start is the best in franchise history. Most of the time, the Wolves are under .500 at this point. “It’s all credit to the guys, their willingness to want to make it work,” coach Chris Finch said.

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