An offensive foul, a three, a charge drawn. A familiar story emerged for the Clippers, as Paul George led a comeback against an early lead en route to a victory. Faced against one of the East’s best, a multilateral effort led to a close, 112-109 victory, and the extension of the win streak to six games over the Miami Heat.
The supporting cast showed up, once again, as a 27-point effort from George was joined with 20-point games from Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Jackson, as well as 18-point and 12-point outings from Ivica Zubac and Luke Kennard, respectively. After falling behind by 15 in the first half, the Clippers entered the fourth quarter with an eight-point lead.
A strong fourth quarter by the Kyle Lowry-led Heat, however, made the game interesting. In particular, a pair of and-ones, (one on a three and one on a drive), led to the Heat cutting the lead to just one late in the game. The conversion of four crucial free throws in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter by Jackson and a late defensive steal by Nicolas Batum, however, helped secure the victory.
One particular bright spot was Zubac’s defense. He contributed 11 rebounds and two blocks, in addition to the aforementioned 18 points, as he anchored the defense against a strong Heat team. He also showed an ability to venture out to the perimeter, including two impressive defensive plays against Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro. His continued propensity as a roller and lob threat showed why Zubac has earned the starting spot, despite the surprising early season performance of Isaiah Hartenstein.
The 50 points in the paint by the Clippers also tells the story of an aggressive Clippers offense, led by Eric Bledsoe. Despite poor performances of late, Bledsoe produced the second strong outing of the season, with a 21-point performance, including three blocks and a team-high plus-minus of plus-8.
This six-game win streak is testament to the Clippers’ increasing comfort on the court. The Clippers look to use the next game, a rematch against Minnesota, to extend their win streak to seven.