Behind 61 combined points from Terance Mann and Kawhi Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers took down the Houston Rockets 121-100.
With just over a month until the All-Star Game, The Crypt saw the same levels of defense we’ll likely be seeing in Salt Lake City, as both teams scored over 60 points in the first half. However, it was the home side who tightened things up in the second, as the wheels fell off for Stephen Silas’s lean, mean rebuilding machine.
Here are the takeaways…
Old man energy
After the game, Ivica Zubac said that starting slow had been the Clippers problem for a few years, and he’s right. In each of the last three seasons, they have been a bottom 10 team for pace in the first half of games and in each of the last two they’ve been bottom 10 for offensive rating before the break.
Ivica Zubac knows that the Clippers need to have better starts to the game:— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) January 15, 2023
"It's been our problem for a few years now, we start off easy."
Since our guys aren’t getting any younger, it’s crucial the team starts with the most solid defensive lineups they can while their guys build up some offensive energy and momentum on the court. Tonight, Tyronn Lue chose to start Amir Coffey instead of Robert Covington and it cost them some of their defensive solidity – although the lineups are trending in the right direction now.
Luckily, they have one guy who always plays in fifth gear..
Terance Stanley the Mann-ley. Since he was introduced to the starting lineup as a point guard, the Clippers have looked a much more competitive team. You can’t help but feel that if it weren’t for all the injury issues that we’re still seeing, it would translate to more winning basketball, but we have to take what we can get right now.
Terance is THAT Mann.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 16, 2023
@Kia Performance of the Game pic.twitter.com/gvI5hGZfcQ
And what we’re getting is huge performances from Mann. Tonight he put up a regular season career-high of 31 points with 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a +16. His energy is infectious and visibly gives his teammates a huge shot in the arm. He’s been consistently encouraged by those closest to him to be more aggressive and it is paying dividends this season.
With the intangible boost he brings, he’s channeling the spirit of another teammate of his…
The end-RJ? (I’m sorry)
Truth be told, Reggie Jackson is not looking himself right now and it is tough to watch. Coach Lue shrugged it off as rust after a couple of consecutive DNPs and I hope that’s all it is, because it is hard to see one of the happiest guys on the roster walking around with his shoulders slumped.
Reggie Jackson, frustrated with himself, threw his goggles down in front of the Clippers bench before taking a seat.— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 15, 2023
Reggie is still likely to have a huge role to play this season if the Clippers are to see any success, and I hope his mind is in the right place to take that opportunity and feel the love that brought him to this place in his career.
If there is any player on this roster that can carve themselves a positive offensive role out of next to nothing, it would be Reggie. And if there is a coach who can find the minutes for him to do just that, then we’ll still be rocking with exactly what we’ve got.