The mood around the Los Angeles Clippers took a huge blow to start the new year on Monday night, as they fell 110-100 to the Miami Heat.
Paul George left the court with less than a minute left of the game having been seen feeling his hamstring, with both the player and his coach unsure on the extent of the damage in their post-game press duties, further compounding the dispiriting loss.
Paul George says his right hamstring discomfort is with the same hamstring tendon strain that kept him out for 7 games. He says he will wait to see how his hamstring responds tomorrow in terms of if he will miss any time. Clippers play at Denver on Thursday, at Minnesota Friday.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 3, 2023
Here are the takeaways from another tough night in Los Angeles…
I’m sorry, this won’t be a positive point despite the misleading title. Yes, the Clippers have got very good at overturning huge deficits – they’ve proven that so many times throughout the previous season and the one before. This year, though, they seem to be clawing their way back into games only to ultimately lose them and it’s concerning.
We know they’ve been the worst team in the NBA during the second quarter of games, but the collapses they suffer during those periods have just become all too familiar now. What made this one even tougher to take was scoring just 17 points in the fourth quarter having gotten themselves back in front heading into the frame.
It’s the same old story…
It’s the same old story
It’s the same old story. The Heat’s highest scoring player was Bam Adebayo with 31 points, and he absolutely killed the Clippers on the glass with 5 offensive rebounds and 13 boards in total. In fact, as a team they had 12 offensive rebounds, including 3 for the undrafted rookie Orlando Robinson.
Ivica Zubac got cooked in this one, but it’s hardly a surprise given how much he’s being asked to do, and the small ball lineups just still aren’t working. Fans want to be patient and believe that these problems can be solved internally, but the franchise is running out of time and opportunities to put a good run together going into the playoffs – and the schedule does them no favors.
From last night -- asked T Lue about small lineups and what he's looking for defensively from that group (and yeah, mentioned that it's not like players are going to grow) pic.twitter.com/TMMvbfnUpV— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) January 3, 2023
There’s just still too much to figure out.
The Luke blueprint
One of the biggest positives to come from the game was seeing Luke Kennard getting some more ball-handling duties, and the Clippers may well have seen first-hand the kind of blueprint that they want to use for the NBA’s third leading three-point shooter by percentage.
Tyler Herro has gradually taken more threes per game throughout his career, but last season his attempts almost matched that of Luke’s last season with the Detroit Pistons, now he’s takin 8.5 per game. Duncan Robinson’s shooting has taken a huge hit, but prior to this season he was putting up around eight per game since his rookie year, and he’s still taking five a game even now.
The answer for Luke lies somewhere between those two guys. Shooting just 2-for-2 from three does nothing for any of us.