Although the Clippers were ready to work for another win in New York, so were their opponents, as the Knicks had lost three in a row at home prior to this matchup. Perhaps the early-afternoon start time contributed, but the Clippers were unable to build off of their win against the 76ers with a 110-102 loss against the Knicks.
Ivica Zubac immediately made an impact for the Clippers once the game got started, with his patented jump hook getting more consistent as each game goes by. Despite the firepower from players like Zubac and Nicolas Batum, the Knicks were even hotter, having hit seven of their eight attempts from beyond the arc in that quarter alone. It didn’t cause a double-digit lead, but it set the stage for another game that called for a comeback to keep things competitive.
The Knicks controlled much of the second quarter primarily due to an advantage on the offensive boards, but 11 straight points from the Clippers cut the deficit to just two with about three minutes to go in the half. Ultimately, the point differential grew to five as the buzzer sounded, but plays like the following helped shift the momentum to favor the Clippers.
We see you rook— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 23, 2022
@BallySportWest | @bboston_ pic.twitter.com/AewRrEFWFG
Unfortunately, the Clippers were unable to close the gap in the third — their shooting from behind the arc was below 23 percent, and their lack of inside penetration prevented them from making the most of being in the bonus for most of the quarter. It never got out of hand, and it was a three-possession game with just under three minutes to go, but there was simply not enough time left on the clock for the Clippers to stage a comeback.
Their shortcomings on the offensive boards, as well as their low shooting percentage from the free throw line contributed to their loss, but the fallout from this game isn’t all negative. Reggie Jackson seems to be approaching some consistency on the floor that the Clippers desperately need, and Ivica Zubac is quickly establishing himself to be an integral part of the Clippers core — now all that’s left is for them to turn those personal improvements into team wins.