LOS ANGELES — The first quarter was all the L.A. Clippers needed to dispose of the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
The Clippers outscored the Lakers 35-22 in the first 12 minutes, and won 121-106 in a designated road game at Staples Center.
“I just thought we came out and set a tone early,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said.
Blake Griffin returned to the Clippers (15-19) after missing about four weeks with a sprained left MCL. He led the way with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists. Lou Williams scored 23 points off the bench while making 13 of 15 from the free throw line.
Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers (11-23) with 20 points and eight assists off the bench. Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram had 18 points apiece. Ingram scored all of his points in the second half, and Larry Nance Jr. added 16.
The Clippers got off to a 9-0 start before Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored the Lakers’ first two points after about four scoreless minutes. The Lakers fell behind by as many as 17 in the first quarter.
“They hit a lot of shots,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said of being outplayed by the Clippers in the first quarter. “But we’ve been saying it all year: When we let teams kinda get into a rhythm because we let the ball move freely side to side, most teams in this league are gonna find a way to knock down shots. I felt like we didn’t push them off their spots in the first quarter. They knocked down everything and we gave them a couple easy looks.
“To me, that comes back to effort again. We didn’t have the right type of effort to start that game.”
For the remaining three quarters, the Clippers outscored the Lakers by only a combined two points.
Randle said he agreed with Walton that “collectively” the team was not ready to start the game.
“We didn’t play well from the start, so you can’t really argue it,” Randle said.
Nance also agreed with Walton.
“I definitely feel like they hit us first,” Nance said. “That seems to kinda be a theme of this year. Whoever we’re starting with right now is just kinda having a hard time getting going early on, and that’s something we gotta fix as well, figure it out.”
Walton decided to move Randle into the starting lineup for Friday’s game. He said Randle played well in that role, and added that he changed around the starting lineup because of the team’s current losing streak.
“Julius has been great for us this whole season, so (I) wanted to give him chance in there,” Walton said. “I thought he played hard tonight. I thought he had a nice game.”
The Clippers outscored the Lakers by 18 points from the 3-point line and had a 26-14 advantage in second-chance points. The Clippers also made 17 more free throws than the Lakers.
Clippers: Austin Rivers left the game in the third quarter with strained right Achilles and did not return.
Lakers: Tyler Ennis did not play (flu symptoms).
Clippers: Host Charlotte on Sunday.
Lakers: At Houston on Sunday.