Just like on Wednesday against Detroit, the Clippers found themselves in what seemed to be an unwinnable position, down six with less than 50 seconds to play, with not enough time to rally for the win.
But then Marcus Morris Sr. got a dunk out of a timeout, Reggie Jackson hit a quick three after a stop, and the Clippers were within one and able to play the foul game. Alas, Danny Green made both of his free throws and Morris’ potential game-tying three was errant, culminating in a 106-103 defeat.
It was somewhat remarkable that the Clippers were even in position to win considering they got off to about the worst start possible. Joel Embiid got going early, and the Clippers couldn’t make a shot. Their poor offense allowed the 76ers to get going in transition, and before you knew it, the road team was down 20-3.
But this Clippers team isn’t one to get fazed so easily, and they have a ton of veteran know-how off the bench. Rajon Rondo was the first backup to settle the team, as he chipped in 10 quick points, including two 3-pointers. He was able to make the Sixers pay for their aggressive defense by threading passes through the traps.
.@RajonRondo doin’ a little of everything.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 17, 2021
@BallySportWest | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/27H14YlHkZ
Patrick Patterson also had a really nice bench stint, hitting a season-high five threes, only the second time all month he’s had more than one 3-pointer in a game. Initially, the Clippers had gone super small against the Sixers to space out Embiid, but Patterson proved better suited for the job.
Patrick Patterson had himself a MONSTER second quarter for the Clippers, especially in the pick-and-pop game with Embiid committing more to the ball handler. pic.twitter.com/AWxJ7GEBVA— Mo Dakhil (@MoDakhil_NBA) April 17, 2021
Those bench performances provided the support Paul George needed to lead the way. He had his fifth game with at least 30 points to help the Clippers stay within contact. L.A. was down 12 at halftime but kept chugging away throughout the third quarter, ending the period down by only four.
The Clippers hit six triples in the third quarter and finally outrebounded the Sixers by three over those 12 minutes. They then took their first lead of the game at 91-90 on a 3-pointer by, who else, Patterson with 7:14 to play. It was fairly even from that point on, but the Sixers hit a 3-pointer off an offensive rebound on a missed free throw to go up 97-94, and they never looked back.
This is the first loss for the team in eight games, the first since Rondo joined this group, but still a game effort considering their personnel absences. Now, they get to return home.