LOS ANGELES — When rookie Josh Hart took the floor down the stretch against the New Orleans Pelicans in late October, he found himself switching defensively onto the likes of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, two 6-foot-11 powerhouses who practically tower over the 6-foot-5 Hart.
But something about those defensive rotations felt familiar to Hart. In the NCAA championship game in April of last year, Hart’s Villanova team used the same defensive philosophy to guard the bigger North Carolina team. The Wildcats, Hart said, generally played smaller and switched every position on defense.
“I played just about every level at college,” Hart said at a recent Lakers practice. “I’ve played against obviously D-II teams at exhibitions and I’ve played against lower D-I’s, high D-I’s and the national champions. So I played at different levels in college, so I know just certain situations.”
One of those situations was guarding bigger players and having to switch multiple positions on defense. So when he was tasked to defend Cousins and Davis, it wasn’t as foreign to him as it may be for other NBA rookies getting their first taste of defending in that way.
With an increasing number of basketball players choosing to forgo extended stints at the college level, Hart is one of three Lakers rookies who spent at least three years in college. The other two are Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso.
LOS ANGELES — The L.A. Clippers dropped their sixth consecutive game on Monday night, falling 109-105 to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“Every loss concerns you, but I like this team,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We just gotta get right. But I wanna win while we’re not right. Right now we’re not.”
Lou Williams scored a team-high 31 points, and had seven rebounds, six assists and five steals. Blake Griffin added 29 points.
EL SEGUNDO — Lonzo Ball has never been away from home for more than a week in his life besides Summer League in July.
Starting Wednesday, that will change for the 20-year-old basketball phenom who was taken No. 2 in the NBA Draft.
After reaching a 5-5 record with a win Sunday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers are ready to embark on their first extended road trip of the season.
LOS ANGELES — The Clippers mounted a furious comeback that fell just short in a 104-101 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon on the second of back-to-back games.
The Clippers trailed by 25 late in the third quarter, staring yet another afternoon-game loss in the face after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies the day before.
But once the fourth quarter started, the Clippers team that took the floor didn’t remotely resemble the one that played so poorly in the first three quarters. The Clippers used a 29-4 run in almost nine minutes of the final frame to tie the game at 93, capped by a three-point play by DeAndre Jordan.
The Clippers took a 101-100 lead after Wesley Johnson dunked the ball on a fast break. Austin Rivers drew a loose-ball foul and went to the free-throw line with 17.1 seconds left and the opportunity to take a three-point lead, but he missed them both.
Rivers said the loss was “disappointing” and “frustrating.”
“I feel like it’s my fault we lost,” Rivers said. “I know that’s not the case because I know it’s a 48-minute game. But still, that’s just the way I feel right now. It’s tough.”
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers almost let a fourth-quarter lead slip away on Sunday night.
Key word: Almost.
The Lakers sustained a high-octane fourth quarter from the Memphis Grizzlies and won 107-102, bringing them to a .500 record through 10 games.
Brook Lopez led the Lakers with 21 points, five assists and two blocks, while Brandon Ingram scored 20, 18 of which came in the first half. Six total Lakers scored in double figures, and Lonzo Ball had nine points, nine assists and five rebounds.
“We just stayed together,” Ingram said of how the Lakers withstood the run from Memphis. “We didn’t put our heads down. We just had a will to win that game. Everyone wanted to win on the basketball floor.”
LANCASTER — It may have been the first time ever that the Eastside girls tennis team hosted a playoff match, but the Lions looked as if they’ve been there before.
The Lions won their first playoff match in school history on Tuesday with a convincing 14-4 victory over the Ontario Christian Knights in a CIF-Southern Section Division 5 wild-card match.
Eastside’s singles players took six of nine sets, while the doubles teams won eight of nine.
“I can’t express how I feel,” said senior No. 1 singles player Valerie Fernandez. “I’m so excited. I’m so excited for my team. I’m so grateful that we just won. It feels like we accomplished a lot this year and it feels really great.”
LOS ANGELES — With 34 seconds left in the third quarter, “MVP” chants rained down from the Staples Center crowd during two free throws.
Minutes earlier, the crowd chanted with fervor for the team with a 20-point lead, and were met with boos from the opposing fans.
The only problem was, the chants were directed at the Golden State Warriors, who pummeled the Clippers 141-113 on Monday night.
“You prefer not to hear that in your arena, but can’t take that personal,” Lou Williams said.