The Los Angeles Clippers moved further ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the race for the Western Conference playoffs with a 128-107 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday at Staples Center, and big man Ivica Zubac didn't hold back when discussing his former team.
"That's how we gotta be," per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. "When I was with the Lakers, we didn't have nights like this. Every game was a close game for us, but now with the Clippers, this team is really locked in, every possession against every team."
Zubac contributed in a number of ways in the win, posting seven points, 11 rebounds and five assists. He is averaging 8.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a night for the Clippers and is a big-man presence the Lakers could surely use after they traded him prior to February's deadline.
During Saturday's loss to the lowly Phoenix Suns, the Purple and Gold played Tyson Chandler five minutes and Mike Muscala—who Lakers got for Zubac—seven minutes. There is not much interior depth behind JaVale McGee, and the result is a defense that is last in the league in defensive rating in the last 10 games, per NBA.com.
The Zubac-less Lakers are in free-fall mode at 3-8 in their last 11 contests and are now five games behind the seventh-seeded Clippers and 4.5 games behind the eighth-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
The defensive effort is lacking, LeBron James appears visibly frustrated at times and the team continues to trend in the wrong direction after it failed to land Anthony Davis via trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
As for Zubac, he is clearly enjoying his time on the Clippers more than when he was with Los Angeles' other team and appears well on his way to the playoffs. The Lakers cannot say the same.