In another poor shooting night for the Clippers, a late game push by the third stringers turned a blow-out into a more respectable final score. Despite their efforts, however, the Clippers fell to the Warriors, 112-97.
It was a poor shooting start for both teams. Through the first six minutes, the Clippers and Warriors shot 30% and 29.4% from the field, respectively. And while the Warriors made up for lost time in the second quarter, the Clippers struggles continued. They entered halftime shooting 42% and 26.1%, respectively.
After a clear path foul, which the Warriors converted into five points and a doubling their lead, the Clippers found themselves at a double-digit deficit halfway through the second quarter.
Through those first sixteen minutes, the Clippers shot just 8-for-34 from the field. Through a combination of stagnant execution, miscommunication, and inability to convert shots — even if many of them were uncontested — left the Clippers scrambling for answers in the first half. When a Nicolas Batum midrange shot ended a six minute drought, it was only after Los Angeles found themselves at the wrong end of a 17 point deficit. The Clippers scored just 36 total points in the first half.
Much of that must be attributed to Jordan Poole, who scored all 13 of his first half points in the second quarter. His 20 points on 66.7% shooting was joined by Jonathan Kuminga’s 21 poitns, on 58.3% shooting.
And while Draymond Green’s playmaking ability makes his absence felt on the offensive end as well, the defensive drop for Golden State — seemingly a direct testament to the importance of Green, normally — is the most profound reason for their recent slump. Despite boasting the second best rated defense in the league this season, the Warriors have been the third worst ranked in that category over the last 11 games. With Draymond healthy Golden State had a 28-6 record, without him they’ve been 16-15.
The Clippers, similarly, were missing Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Robert Covington tonight. The defensive juggernaut that is Robert Covington has been impressive in the few games he’s played in a Clippers uniform. Perhaps for the Clippers, however, it’s the offensive production of those three that were more sorely missed. And as more and more videos surface of those former two shooting during warmups or team practices, the jury is still out on whether or not the cavalry will return this season. One thing is certain, however: the Clippers need them if they want to compete at the highest level.
Kawhi Leonard out on the court a couple hours before tip in SF going through a shooting routine. Playoffs five weeks away. pic.twitter.com/P871PHfR40— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 9, 2022
Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum provided the only sparks of hope on the Clippers team. Kennard, Batum, and Marcus Morris Sr. were the only Clippers scoring in the double digits tonight. Los Angeles shot just 35.5% from the field and 30.8% from three, tonight.
Even when the ball movement was there, even when the Clippers offense was able to generate the looks they wanted, the ball simply refused to go in the basket tonight. The Warriors, on the other hand, shot 47.8% from the field and 38.2%% from three. They also distributed 33 assists, to the Clippers’ 22.
It’s worth noting that the Clippers handedly won garbage time, which spanned the last nine minutes of the game, tonight. Rodney Hood’s —— points in that time propelled a mini-run that brought what, at its apex, was a 29 point Clippers deficit to 11 points, at its nadir. So, you know, little victories.
Personally? I blame Jackie Moon. We should have known that the Warriors would have all the mojo the moment we saw Moon warming up with Golden State.
Los Angeles looks to forget these last two games and get back on track, tomorrow, against the Washington Wizards.