March 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (32) reacts to a call during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Looking at this game, you could point fingers at a lot of problems. One could argue about free throws, where the Los Angeles Clippers were 19-35. 19-35, for those who are lazy, is 54%. One could blame the terrible defense throughout the first 3 quarters, which led to the Golden State Warriors shooting 54% from 3 point land, and 51% overall. Then you can turn around and look at coach Vinny Del Negro for his wacky rotations. That only makes sense too, as he took out the bench players that rallied a run in the 2nd quarter, and when he finally realized that he should put that same group back in, it was too late.Reggie Evans and Eric Bledsoe, and the balance seemed like it had shifted.
Reggie (who henceforth shall be named "Manimal") grabbed 6 boards and 3 points in 3 minutes before being sent back to the bench after leading the Clippers to a run that allowed them to pull within 4. However, it was all in vain as Vinny did the best thing ever and pulled Eric and the Manimal only to put the ice cold Caron Butler and Mo Williams back in. Caron, who has been in an extreme slump as of late, shot an astounding 0-6 and finished with 1 point, while Mo finished with 3 points in 31 minutes. The Warriors continued to play great basketball throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarter while the Clippers continued to play Clipper basketball.
Then, with 2:11 left in the 3rd, the Clippers started a furious comeback led by Manimal, Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe. The usual late game comebacks we have seen many times this year started to rear it's beautiful, yet daunting head once again. Eric Bledsoe started playing lockdown defense on Monta Ellis, which contagiously spread to every other Clippers player on the court, and everything started to look a bit brighter. But the Clippers just couldn't put it away after tying it up at 83; they were gassed after a furious comeback and the Warriors took advantage of it and put the game away with a 17-12 run.
One could ask why the Clippers didn't play with the same effort found in the 4th quarter at the start of the game. After all, they had a day of rest while Golden State was on a second game of a back to back. I'm just going to take the easy way out and say "it's the Clippers," but with a Blake Griffin and a Chris Paul it's hard to use the "it's the Clippers" excuse anymore. With the season halfway through and playoffs nearing, there is no more time for excuses. Starting a 6 game home-stand with a loss to a sub-.500 team isn't how a playoff team should look. The Clippers take on the Boston Celtics tomorrow and a have a huge chance to bounce back after tonight's forgetful game.
Some quick notes:
- Blake Griffin, despite having 27 points, finished 7-15 from the charity stripe.
- Chris Paul is now Zorro after having his nose fractured.
- Reggie Evans nabbed his first double double of the season with the Clippers. He finished 11-12-3.
- After getting 33 points against San Antonio, Mo Williams scored only 3 points and played an overwhelming 31 minutes.
- Eric Bledsoe keeps showing off his stellar play with incredible defense and amazing bursts of speed. Is he on the trading block?
- The Clippers have dropped to 2nd in the Pacific Division for the first time this season after the Lakers beat Boston 97-94 to secure first place in the Pacific Division.