Clarkson bounces back against Paul

LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson fell back to earth on Sunday.

After a string of eye-popping performances that earned him Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for March, the Los Angeles Lakers guard had one of his worst games of the season that day against Chris Paul and the Clippers.

Paul hounded Clarkson, a 2014 second-round pick, and the Clippers as a team focused on slowing down the Lakers' new-found offensive weapon, one who had averaged 21.8 points in the past seven games leading into the matchup.

In the end, they held the University of Missouri product to just two points on 1-of-6 shooting and pummeled the Lakers by 29 points. But after the humiliating loss, Clarkson immediately asked to review the game film. And the Lakers staff went over adjustments he'd need to make when they faced the Clippers 48 hours later.

It paid off. Clarkson looked like a whole new player Tuesday. Even though the Lakers lost 105-100, Clarkson's bounce-back performance of 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting helped keep his team in the contest well into the final minutes, a sharp turnaround after they found themselves trailing by as many as 43 on Sunday.

"[Jordan Clarkson] just went downhill," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday. "I do not think we did a great job. What we did Sunday, we did not do any of that [Tuesday] even though that was the game plan. Give him credit; I just thought he was aggressive."

Lakers coach Byron Scott was equally impressed.

"Just another step in his growth process, but it was big," Scott said of Clarkson. "Again, he's playing against probably the best point guard in the league, and to come back and have a bounce-back game like he did, it just shows the type of player he can be.

"I'm very happy with the way he played ... He fell on his face last time and picked himself back up, watched some tape, made some adjustments and played a good, solid game."

Clarkson, for his part, wasn't celebrating too much. He was pleased, sure, but he simply credited film work. He studied how the Clippers defended him, especially on screens, and tried to be much more aggressive. As Rivers said, it worked.

"We just did a good job attacking," Clarkson said.

Clarkson also felt some measure of pride for how he bounced back considering he was facing one of the game's elite point guards.

"[Paul] did a good job the first game throwing off my rhythm and stuff," Clarkson said. "The second game, I just tried to play aggressive and compete. He's probably the best point guard in the game right now, him and Russell [Westbrook and] probably Stephen Curry. It's a good test."