I'm going to apologize in advance for the fact that I just don't have a lot to say in this recap. My intake of the game was disjointed at best - I watched the very beginning, then listened in the car as I was picking up my son from school, then watched some more, then went to my daughter's middle school band concert. Basically, the the third quarter meltdown happened as I was doing three or four different things, and I'm not sure whether I don't have much of a handle on it because I wasn't paying close enough attention, or whether there just wasn't much to see there.
Obviously Eric Gordon had his worst game in a long time. Not only was this his second lowest scoring total of the season, and his lowest total since game two, he was just clearly not sharp. Absolutely nothing came easy. Was that Philadelphia's defense shutting him down? It's hard to say. Eric certainly was not at his best, and mishandled the ball more than usual (he had five turnovers). He finished with 16 points on 18 shots. Given EJ's penchant for getting to the free throw line this season, along with his usually decent shooting percentage (at least for a guard), we're not used to him having fewer points than shots. Indeed, this is the first time this season it has happened.
The shame is that we were hoping that someone else would step up and help Gordon and Griffin put some points on the board, and indeed they did. Baron Davis had 16 points in the first half, and DeAndre Jordan had a season high 15 in the game on 7 for 7 shooting. Although Baron only scored two in the second half, he and EJ combined for 33, which is something when you consider that all the Clippers other than Gordon and Griffin combined for only 30 on Sunday. Unfortunately, this happened to be EJ's worst night in a long while, and the Clippers aren't good enough to win without him right now.
The final outcome can pretty much be traced to a 34-18 third quarter, and even more specifically to a 19-4 run at the end of the period. That run turned a 3 point Clipper lead in to a 12 point deficit, and LA never again got the score within single digits.
Although Gordon's string of 20 point games came to an end, Blake Griffin ran his streak of double-doubles to 13 in a row with a 20-18 game. 18 rebounds is a career-high for Griffin, though I think we can safely assume that it won't be for too very long. Even Griffin struggled from the field though at 6 for 16, and the Clippers as a team shot under 40%. Take away Jordan and Davis who combined to make 14 of 21 shots and the rest of the Clippers were barely above 30%.
This was a good chance to get a road win. The Sixers were on a back to back, and the Clippers outplayed them in the first half. However, they seemed to continually misfire when they had a chance to build the lead into something more daunting. Eric Bledsoe committed a foul on a half court shot to end the first quarter, giving the Sixers a couple free points. The Clippers several times failed to convert fast breaks, which seemed to lead to fast breaks the other way. The Sixers were much stronger closing quarters, and as a result, the Clippers never built a lead larger than eight, and never went into a quarter break ahead by more than three. With the game so close, Philly's third quarter run was able to break it open.
So now the Clippers will have to look for their first road win of the season in Detroit on Friday.
Bizarre Whistle of the Game: Late in the second quarter, Jrue Holiday was fouled by Eric Bledsoe was he was starting a spin move in the lane. Holiday completed the move - awkwardly, and with a couple extra steps - and scored the bucket. And surprisingly the refs decided to count it and give Jrue the and one.
Now, I'm not arguing that it was a foul. And I can even see the continuation in a way - one rule of thumb on the continuation call is whether the player takes a dribble between the foul and the shot, and Holiday definitely didn't dribble again.
The problem is, he needed to dribble again to make the move legal. He took at least three steps, and maybe four - he shot on the way down, and it's hard to tell if he got the shot off before his fourth step hit the ground. But even without the fourth step, it was a travel. In Holiday's defense, I will say that without the fourth step, it was really no more of a travel than the spin move Dwyane Wade makes on an almost nightly basis, which is never called. The difference is that Holiday's looked terrible and out of sync, and I've always suspected that Wade and others get away with that walk because they make it look so smooth and natural. Holiday's move was anything but natural looking.
The proper call then, if you consider that he walked, would have been a non-shooting foul. The foul must by definition have come before the shot if a traveling violation came between the foul and the shot.