The Clippers’ start to the new year wasn’t all so pleasant: after winning their first against the Brooklyn Nets, they found themselves in a three-game losing streak.
What was more concerning than their losing streak was the team’s offense — or lack thereof, I should say. Without the usual 25 points Paul George logged each night, the Clippers struggled to find rhythm early and, in crunch time, failed to make a dent into the opponent’s lead. What’s more, losing key role players like Luke Kennard to COVID protocols, the team looked, at times, incapable of scoring in high-demand situations.
Things took quite the turn, however, when the Clippers came out firing on all cylinders against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 18. With three players scoring over 20 points, the team knocked the Pacers out with a 139-point punch of their own.
Fresh off their big win, the team took on an arduous eight-game road trip. And to the surprise of many, it’s in front of hostile opposing fans that the Clips have continued to figure things out offensively.
Third-year Clipper Amir Coffey has set the tone consistently on the offensive end, averaging 13.1 points on 48.3 percent shooting in January. Add the likes of Nicolas Batum and Kennard back into the mix, the Clippers have had enough three-point shooting to open up the floor and stuff the scoreboard — we saw plenty of exhilarating slams from Ivica Zubac and easy open looks from Kennard.
Thanks to the return of the team’s core players, the flow, spacing, and control the team plays with has noticeably improved. And each Clipper takes turns stepping up in the absence of a clear first-option. It might not be a coincidence that six Clippers in the rotation — Serge Ibaka, Zubac, Isaiah Hartenstein, Batum, Coffey, and Morris Sr. — had their season-high in points this January.
The Clippers, in turn, have overcome their early-month shooting woes and bumped up their point average to 107.8 per game this month, the highest they’ve put up this season. More importantly, they’ve been doing so consistently — despite scoring less than the 100-point mark at the start of the month, the team has logged more than 100 points every game since their big win against the Pacers.
But trust me, their January tale only gets better.
The “Comeback Clips” made history, overcoming three 24-plus point deficits just this month. Thanks to the leadership of Tyronn Lue and the young energy off the bench, the team continues to give its all, no matter the score. And, one way or another, the Clippers find themselves narrowing deficits and, sometimes, on top at the 48-minute mark.
Everything comes full circle in their last game of the month as the Clips take on the Indiana Pacers — this time, at Indiana.
When: Monday, January 31 at 4 p.m. PT
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Indy Cornrows
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr., Serge Ibaka
Pacers: Chris Duarte, Caris LeVert, Justin Holiday, Torrey Craig, Isaiah Jackson
Clippers: Paul George, Keon Johnson, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Ivica Zubac — OUT
Pacers: Oshae Brissett — QUESTIONABLE; Goga Bitadze, Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, T.J. Warren — OUT
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.