Jordan Clarkson says Lakers must fight tendency to relax during games
Jordan Clarkson is embracing the role as reserve after making his mark as the team’s second-highest scorer last season behind the retired Kobe Bryant. AP

JORDAN Clarkson says the Los Angeles Lakers have the tendency to relax after taking a big lead and called on his team to be more focused as they try to get back on track.

The Lakers edged the Clippers on Christmas Day, but that was only their second win in the last 10 games.

“We’ve just gotta grow up, to be honest with you,” Jordan Clarkson told Lakers.com during a practice.

Some notable losses were the teams’ meetings against the Charlotte Hornets and the Miami Heat where they led by as many as 19 points but folded at crunchtime.

“When the game starts getting easy for us, we tend to relax,” admitted the Filipino-American swingman.

“That’s when we’ve got to put the foot down and continue to do what we’re supposed to do.”

Fortunately for the Lakers, they withstood the Clippers long enough to get the 'W' with their 111-102 victory on Christmas Day to end an 11-game losing streak against the Clippers, the longest such streak against any other team since the franchise moved to California.  

The team is banking on a young core led by D’Angelo Russell (20), Julius Randle (22), Larry Nance Jr. (23) and Brandon Ingram (19), while the 24-year-old Clarkson has embraced the role as a reserve after making his mark as the team’s second-highest scorer last season behind the retired Kobe Bryant.

In 34 games, 31 as a sub, Clarkson has averaged 14.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 28 minutes of action (his lowest since his rookie year).

Clarkson’s rebounding and passing are slightly down, however, and is shooting .435 from the field (on 13 shots per game) and .341 from deep, percentages that are considered low for his guard position.          

 

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