Clarkson’s Free Throws In “Ugly” Game Wins It For Lakers


Unlike last night, when the Lakers big men were useless in the paint, tonight in Minnesota, they shook off the back-to-back fatigue and took advantage of a bad Minnesota defense. Ed Davis had 14 points and 9 rebounds. Tarik Black had a dunk in the 4th quarter, a dunk in overtime and a free throw.

Often, when the game is on the line, the Lakers find a way to slide back into old habits. Jeremy Lin, exited the game early in the 4th quarter and the Timberwolves went on a 16-6 run and took the lead with five minutes left. Jordan Clarkson struggled with his shot in the final quarter as did most of the Lakers, not unusual on a back to back. With two minutes left the score was tied and Jabari Brown drilled a three. Clarkson’s pull-up jumper gave the Lakers a five point lead with 98 seconds left.

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But, this is the Lakers, a team notorious for turning victory into defeat. Wiggins missed a three but the Wolves scored on a pair of free throws by Zach LaVine. It was a three point Lakers lead when Tarik Black grabbed a rebound with 22 seconds left. The Wolves had to foul but Black was stripped (or so the tank God’s said) and Chase Budinger hit a three (uncontested, of course) to tie. The Lakers had one last shot to win but Ryan Kelly missed. Of course he did, he’s shooting 30% on the season.

The Lakers have been here so many times before, it’s become the proverbial bad horror flick where you know not just the ending but when and how loud to scream. The Lakers took a one point lead with 2 minutes left in overtime but with the Lakers, two minutes is a hundred, as in a hundred ways to not score or defend. As in a 3 point play by Andrew Wiggins to give the Timberwolves a two point lead. And then a bad/fortuitous (for the tank) call of a travel by Clarkson.

Wayne Ellington missed 4 straight shots in the 4th quarter so of course he kept shooting in overtime. With 89 seconds left the Lakers were trailing by a bucket. Clarkson tied the score with a couple of free throws and you just knew the Wolves would get an open shot.

But, Wiggins traveled with 44 seconds left and Clarkson finished on a drive past LaVine, giving him 18 points. The Wolves had 34 seconds left to find a way to get Budinger open for a three.

Neither happened. LaVine missed on the perimeter. Budinger’s rebound had to be examined like it was the Zapruder film. The Timberwolves tied the score on a Dieng jumper and with three-tenths of a second remaining Clarkson was fouled. He gave the Lakers a two point lead and the game.

Shout out to the 25 and younger club who played their hearts out in spite of both fan bases wishing for the opposite. 20 year old Zach LaVine had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. 20 year old Andrew Wiggins had 27 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. 23 year old Jordan Clarkson had 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. 23 year old Tarik Black had 11 points and 7 rebounds. 23 year old Ryan Kelly had 11 points and 8 rebounds. 25 year old Ed Davis had 14 points and 9 rebounds.

At the very end, the Lakers were happy. Their fans not so much. They were despondent.

Next: Game Grades: Lakers Can't Out Tank Wolves, Grab Win