LOS ANGELES — The L.A. Clippers just can’t catch a break.
In the fourth quarter of their slim 120-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night at Staples Center, Clippers forward Blake Griffin left the game with an injury after Austin Rivers fell to the floor and landed into his left knee.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Griffin was in low spirits when he spoke to his star forward sometime after the injury.
“He’s down,” Rivers said. “Right now, he’s where we are at, hoping that it was just a bang and then it hurt, and that he’ll be alright.”
The Clippers were already without Patrick Beverly, Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari going into Monday’s game.
Clippers guard Lou Williams led all scorers with 42 points on 12-of-21 shooting and 14 of 14 from the free throw line. Griffin added 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Austin Rivers contributed 19 points.
The Clippers ended the game with four straight points after leading 116-115 with 48 seconds left. Two free throws by Williams sealed the deal.
“He saved us,” Rivers said of Williams.
Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a team high 29 points on 12-of-28 shooting, while Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson each had 17 points. Kyle Kuzma scored 15 in his return to the bench unit.
“I was really disappointed in our individual defense down the stretch of the game,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said. “Our guys have been good all year at taking that challenge. Whether its as Lou or Austin Rivers – I thought Larry did a very nice job on Blake. But the rest of our guys just conceded.”
The Lakers made their deficit 114-113 with under three minutes to play after Ingram dunked the ball off an assist from Ball.
The Clippers trailed 103-95, but took a 106-105 lead on an 11-2 ran that culminated dunking the ball. The Clippers had a five-point lead that the Lakers cut to just two with 3:53 left in the game.
The Lakers briefly held a four-point lead in the third quarter, but the Clippers took a 70-69 lead on Griffin’s 3-pointer with 7:52 left in the frame. Clarkson scored a layup after rebounding a miss in transition, giving the Lakers a slim 79-78 lead.
Much of the second quarter was back forth, with both teams exchanging slim leads and spending time tied. Austin Rivers gave the Clippers a 60-59 lead with a three-point play, but Kuzma answered with a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 62-60 Lakers lead at halftime.
The Lakers took a 38-36 lead when Clarkson rebounded a miss and scored with 10:38 in the second quarter. The Clippers trailed by seven, but tied the game at 49 after a dunk by Williams with 5:23 left in the first half.
The Lakers trailed 19-11 early in the first quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Caldwell-Pope and Ball cut the Clippers’ lead to just three. The Clippers scored six straight points for a 26-17 lead.
The Lakers ended the first quarter on a 17-8 run and trailed 34-32.
Lakers: Larry Nance Jr. returned to the starting lineup after missing from a broken left hand and missing about three weeks of action. He scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds in 30 minutes.
Clippers: Host the Utah Jazz on Thursday.
Lakers: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.