In their comeback victory against the Pistons, Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein were two of the most impactful players on the Clippers’ roster that game. The Cavaliers’ status as the sixth seed in a stacked Eastern Conference, however, threatened the momentum they acquired after their latest win. The momentum was ultimately lost, as the Clippers dropped the game in overtime, 120-111 on the road.
Both teams clearly exhibited a similar type of energy while on the court—for the Clippers, it might be from their comeback mentality, while for the Cavaliers, it certainly is from their youth and the confidence that goes with it. They held a lead after the first quarter, which continued into the second. Evan Mobley and Kevin Love countered the impact that the Clippers’ bigs brought, as they combined for 22 points in the first half and made their opponents work hard on both ends of the floor.
A little more than halfway through the second, however, Semi Ojeyele’s sidestep and-one jumper got the Clippers their first lead since early on in the quarter prior. It was their defense that pushed them to that point, with Zubac and Hartenstein effectively matching up with the large lineup the Cavaliers frequently employed. It stayed close, but the Clippers made sure to hold onto a one point lead at halftime.
The one point lead quickly ballooned to 12 points, with a lot of credit going to Luke Kennard and Amir Coffey. The two lefties made themselves known from the outside—they combined for five total shots from deep by the end of the night. However, the Cavaliers defense continued to cause problems for the Clippers which was eventually reflected in the scoreboard. They erased the lead and extended their own to as much as nine points in the fourth quarter, but nine straight points from the Clippers with just three minutes left brought it back to an even matchup. Amir Coffey had the chance to seal the deal at the free throw line, but he hit just one to tie the game which eventually went into overtime.
The overtime period was a defensive showcase, blocks and steals being common occurrences while successful shots were rare. However, a short offensive outburst from the Cavaliers is all it took for them to get the 120-111 win in overtime (oh, and 30 points from rookie Evan Mobley). The Clippers looked understandably tired on the court, after three road games in a row that included a back-to-back. Now, they get a day of rest before facing off against the Raptors back at home.