You kind of had to expect this one right? With only ten active players on the roster, including G-League call-up Angel Delgado, who recorded his first minutes as an NBA player tonight, the Clippers looked like they were lacking chemistry and turned in an incredibly sloppy performance that saw them cough the ball up 21 times. The funny thing is, it didn’t start out all that bad.
The Clips were only trailing the Pacers by five after the first quarter, and started 11-for-11 from the field with Danilo Gallinari (his first game back after missing 10 with back spasms) hitting his first three three’s, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell making energy plays up-and-down the floor, and the Clippers getting in Pacer passing lanes. They were scoring well, but already making boneheaded passes. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked uncomfortable going up against two veteran guards in Darren Collison and Tyreke Evans, and Sindarius Thornwell (making his first and probably only start of the season) continued to not contribute offensively. Despite the turnovers, the Clippers were firmly in the game after one and trailed 35-31.
Early in the second, the lead bounced back and forth as the Clips forced Pacer turnovers, Johnathan Motley attacked the rim, Lou Williams made shots from everywhere, and Ty Wallace was being aggressive. However, the Clips could not keep the ball out of the Pacers’ defenders hands, and saw a one point deficit surge to a 14 point deficit as Bojan Bogdanovc made back-to-back threes and the Pacers went on a 13-0 run in a minute and a half. The turnover problem continued throughout the quarter despite the efforts of an aggressive Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, and saw the Clippers down 18, 71-53 at the half.
It was more of the same to start the third, as the Clips kept turning the ball over and the Pacers capitalized. The Pacers also knew they had a huge height advantage inside, with Myles Turner gobbling up almost every Clipper shot and Domantas Sabonis finessing every Clipper big. L.A. just could not catch or pass with any ease as the Pacers defense suffocated them to the tune of 20 turnovers before the third quarter was even done. The Clips were never in this game after the middle of the second quarter, and were down 25 by the end of the third.
The fourth quarter was the Ty and Jerome show as the young guns, including Delgado and Motley, got the most burn they have all season, which is a good thing for the long run, bad for this game. 3rd unit vs. 3rd unit was as sloppy as could be, and in the end the Clippers took one of their biggest L’s of the season, losing by 24.
Angel Delgado’s first minutes and points: A cool moment for the franchise happened as Angel Delgado made his first appearance in a Clipper uniform after being picked up on a two-way deal by L.A. this summer. He has been a rebounding machine in the G-League (actually leads the league in rebounding average) and showed that ability in his first game, picking up four in 13 minutes.
Jerome struggles: This is a game that rookie Jerome Robinson will want to forget. This was his worst performance as a pro, as he went 2-for-13 from the field, including 1-for-6 from three. Yikes. It didn’t really matter and really his whole rookie season doesn’t…but you still want to see him shoot better when that’s his main job on the team.
Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers: It’s funny that this game was actually not the Clippers season high total for turnovers, even though they gave the ball up 21 times tonight. Yuck.
On to the next: Saturday’s contest against the Boston Celtics will be Clipper nation’s first chance to see Landry Shamet, Ivica Zubac, JaMychal Green, and Garrett Temple in the red, white and blue. It should be an exciting moment for fans and a good first test for the new guys.