Thomas and friends stepped up in the absence of Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and their new recruits, causing Ty Lue’s team a number of problems throughout the contest. However, despite falling behind amid yet another slow fourth quarter showing in New York, the visitors regained their focus to secure a fourth win from this six-game road trip.
Here are the takeaways…
After explaining the thought process behind the eight-man rotation against the New York Knicks, and publicly reaffirming his love for both Luke Kennard and Robert Covington, Coach Lue gave us some early Kennard minutes when he subbed in for Terance Mann as the team’s latest makeshift point guard in the first quarter.
It’s a move that some fans have been crying out for, myself included, with highlights of his playmaking abilities with the Detroit Pistons doing the rounds on Twitter recently. Yet, despite a rare slow shooting night, it was just good to see Luke getting some playing time after back-to-back DNPs.
With how their point guard situation has gone this season, it’s frustrating the Clippers haven’t even given Luke Kennard a chance to get on the ball.— Joey Linn (@joeylinn_) February 5, 2023
He was great at it in Detroit. pic.twitter.com/8yyLySkMcE
Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Kennard as a Clipper, especially in a point guard capacity…
Big Batum bailout
Despite escaping New York with two wins, the team will know they have a lot to improve upon before fans can be confident that they will meet their expectations for the season. However, those same fans will also feel really good about the moments they saw from Nicolas Batum.
Against the Knicks, he hit the game-tying three to send it to overtime after an all too common fourth-quarter collapse by the Clippers. On Monday night, he executed a high-IQ play off the inbound to get an and-one bucket and give his team a two-possession lead just as the Nets threatened to claw their way back into it.
Of course, success this season will be decided by the stars turning it up in the big moments, but it’s not such a bad thing to see important role players carrying some of that weight too…
Hmm, I’m still not totally convinced by the vibes within the organization right now. Ty’s explainer about Kennard and Covington being left out of the eight-man rotation felt like a hint that he still doesn’t feel he has the players he wants at his disposal, thus he’s been sitting guys who have been huge pluses for the team whenever they’ve played to prove some kind of point.
Terance Mann was super aggressive in the early stages of the game which was good to see, but the flipside of that is that he possibly feels disappointed to have seen his name in the reported package for Kyrie Irving – and I’m sure Luke felt the same. Then, in his postgame interview Ivica Zubac was giving off some disappointed yet defiant vibes about where the Clippers are at currently.
It seems like there’s still a lot of frustration and uncertainty right now, and perhaps a lot of that stops the minute the trade deadline passes.
Even if that isn’t the case, that moment cannot come soon enough…