Thanks partly to a timely shot from former two-year Duke basketball sharpshooter and current third-year Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Lakers are now 0-2 while their in-town rivals sit at 1-0.
Just as the Lakers had climbed back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and were threatening to take the lead with under six minutes to play in the Clippers’ eventual 103-97 win, the 26-year-old Kennard stepped up with a catch-and-shoot fastbreak swish from deep.
That pushed his team’s lead to four at 95-91.
The Clippers then never trailed the rest of the way. And evidently, head coach Tyronn Lue trusted Kennard enough to keep him in the game until only seven seconds remained on the clock.
Kennard tallied only 11 points, one rebound, and one assist in his 24 minutes on the floor against the Lakers.
But he shot 4-for-6 from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 beyond the arc, prompting fellow key Clippers reserve John Wall to tell the media that he’s kicking himself for not finding the NBA Blue Devil for more open looks from downtown.
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Last season, Luke Kennard, who went No. 12 overall at the 2017 NBA Draft and is now in his sixth year as a pro, averaged 11.9 points in 27.4 minutes per game. He finished with a league-best 44.9 shooting percentage from 3-point land.
His 42.5 career 3-point percentage ranks No. 5 among active players (Duke basketball alum Seth Curry ranks No. 1 at 44.0 percent).
Next up for the Los Angeles Clippers and their lone Duke basketball product is a road game against the Sacramento Kings at 10 p.m. ET Saturday.
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