Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Lonzo Ball had 19 for the Lakers, who played without James, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. The Lakers own a 146-70 advantage in the all-time regular-season series but the Clippers have taken 17 of the last 19 meetings.
James' injury is one that can linger for weeks, and the Lakers' two most recent performances in Sacramento and against the Clippers on Friday raise the question of just how bad things might get before he returns. The noted oenophile and four-time NBA MVP is day-to-day with his strained groin, but James isn't expected to miss as much time as Rondo, who is out for at least a month after surgery on his right index finger. Tobias Harris is leading LA with 21.5 points plus 8.2 boards a game this season. The remaining Lakers lost for the fifth time in seven games, including back-to-back defeats for only the third time since October. The Lakers entered Thursday tied with the Clippers for second in the Pacific Division, 2.5 games behind Golden State.
A key to their success has been the production from their bench.
These Kings are thinking playoffs once the regular season is over, and for the purple and white to reach their goal, they need to win games like tonight to show that they can hang with the top teams in the National Basketball Association.
"We put the bulldogs on the floor, and the fight was unbelievable", Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Granted the Clippers don't have the starpower they once used to - like Blake Griffen, Chris Paul or DeAndre Jordan, who brought in plenty of extra fans - but they are winning.
"His energy and his toughness, he knows his niche with each group", Rivers said. Ball was unable to finish the game in Sacramento on Thursday night because of leg cramps.
"You could see we just didn't have it offensively and give the Lakers some credit".
"Beverley should get more credit". "When he goes on the floor there is a plus, with his defensive energy, and he is an instigator. We're on the same team".