The Clippers coasted to a comfortable 88 to 75 victory at home. The game however started rather ugly for both teams and especially the Clippers. The good guys had 5 turnovers and only 3 assists after the first quarter. The Utah Jazz were leading after the first quarter 22 to 19 after the Clippers’ offense disappeared. After starting 3 for 6 from the field, the Clippers subsequently were 6 of 21. Part of the problem was the invisible barrier that kept a lot of close range shots out of the rim. This was highlighted by DeAndre Jordan missing four early shots next to the rim. Luckily the team’s defense stayed pretty consistent and kept the game close. The Clippers got their offense rolling towards the end of the half and entered leading 42 to 35. The turnaround was spearheaded again by the bench (more on that later). Still, the Clippers were only shooting 35.7% from the field. Thankfully the Jazz were only shooting 36.1%.
The Clippers started the second half with a solid 7-0 run and pretty much kept the lead at double digits for the remainder of the game. A scary moment did develop however with 6:34 left in the third quarter when Jordan’s hand was slapped by George Hill. DJ immediately showed signs of extreme pain and had to leave the game. He did return later in the game, but may have been favoring his right hand during the remainder of his playing time.
Leading from the Bench. This game came down to the Clippers’ bench being excellent. It provided 42 points, led by Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford combining for 31 points (on 12 of 20 shooting). Austin Rivers led all scorers in the game and was showing off his vintage step back jumper and dribble penetration. Crawford was hitting tough shots and brought back memories of his game last year when he led the reserves in an upset against the Jazz. Marreese Speights continued his solid play even though he was only 1 of 8 from the field. Mo’ Buckets became Mo’ Charges as he drew a handful of charges and spearheaded the team’s excellent defense. As a whole the team held Utah to 39.7% shooting and out-rebounded the Jazz 49 to 43.
Have a Break. The Clippers were able to give their starters plenty of time to rest with the game being in hand early and by a lot. No starter played over 30 minutes. This is great because tomorrow is another game. Likewise, it’s great to see the bench getting plenty of playing time. They’ve earned it. Heck, Brandon Bass and Diamond Stone made their first appearance of the season as well.
Could Do Better
No Bingo. The Clippers 3-point shooting continued to struggle. After hitting their first attempt, the team missed its next 6. It entered the half shooting 2 of 12 from deep and ended the game an ugly 6 of 27 (22.2%). While J.J. Redick was fine from the field (4 of 8), he was only 1 of 3 from deep. As a whole, the team needs to rediscover its touch from deep.
Polly Wants Improvement. Chris Paul was off tonight with only 9 point and 9 assists (although he did have 4 steals). While the team did not exactly need CP3 at his best today, the team may need its Point God as soon as tomorrow night because of the back-to-back game.
On a Separate Note
Congrats to Blake Griffin for passing Corey Maggette on the Clippers’ All-Time Scoring List.
Name Please? The bench has been playing well and deserves a fitting title. Let the search begin. Memes and pictures capturing their glory will also be appreciated.
LET’S GO PEOPLE. Blake Griffin took the mic before the game to ask the fans to be extra loud and make Staples Center the hardest stadium to play in for visiting NBA teams. He acknowledged the team’s goal to do what hasn’t been done before (whether make the Conference Final or win a title, either is fine with me), but noted that it would need the help of the fans. Indeed, I admit, Staples may be sold out often…. but it lacks a loud intensity that you may find in other cities. Perhaps that’s just part of the Los Angeles identity…but Blake Griffin thinks we can do better. Let’s show Association that he’s right!
The Clippers face the Phoenix Suns tomorrow night at 7:30 PM at the Staples Center.