Last night’s game at Utah was definitely a heartbreaker. The fact that the Clippers were up by 18 at one point in the first half along with the stellar play of Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman made the loss a lot more excruciating than it had to be. The only positive from last night’s game was Eric Gordon’s 22 point 4th quarter performance where he went into epic superstar mode and tied the game for the Clippers to send it to overtime. But that highlight was quickly negated with his injury later in the second overtime. But the main point is that the Clippers should not have had to send the game to overtime in the first place. It was completely unnecessary and something the Clippers did not need.
That huge lead quickly became a deficit with the Clippers infamous third quarter collapse. The third quarter collapse that happened in the Utah game happened because of turnovers, fouls, and the inability for the hot hands to continue making shots. Too many times this season that Blake Griffin completely disappears in the second half and fails to contribute as much as he did in the first half. This comes from the fact that in halftime, the other team knows how to adjust to Blake Griffin and shut him down to neutralize his abilities. But Blake Griffin and the coaching staff does not seem to ever know how to adjust back and turn Blake back into the focal offensive weapon like he was in the first quarter. So Paul Millsap was able to draw some fouls from Griffin and get him out of the game which was the Jazz plan. Chris Kaman also turned off his brain for the second half despite have a spectacular first half which saw him make 7 out of 9 shots. He finished the game with only 9 field goals made. That means in the second half plus 10 minutes of overtime, Chris Kaman was only able to make 2 field goals. This along with all the stupid mistakes he made throughout the night was really irritating on both sides of the television. I was screaming profanity at Chris Kaman throughout the second half and I’m sure he kept losing his confidence as the game wore on. Mistakes such as going for the rebound at a free throw too early which cost us a point, or the several idiotic turnovers he made in overtime really cost us the game.
The third quarter collapse is not new to Clippernation though. When the third quarter collapse, the whole game usually ends for the Clippers and we are left with an L. In the first 7 games of the season, there was only 2 instances where the Clippers outscored their opponents in the 3rd quarter. Those games was the game against the Thunder where we outscored them 27 to 23 in the third and was able to secure a win that game. And the first game against Portland where we outscored them 22 to 16 but then had a 6 minute scoring drought in the 4th quarter that led to our loss. In the other five games of the season, 4 of those games, the Clippers were not able to score over 20 points in the 3rd quarter with the game against Golden State, the Clippers scored a pathetic 13 points only for those 12 minutes. Vinny Del Negro needs to put that speaking abilities of his to work during halftime to keep the team pumped up. And the coaching staff as a whole needs to be able to figure out ways to adjust to the opponents after the opponents adjusted to them. That is the difference between coaching abilities. The players also have to make their shots. Sometimes its not the coach not being to adjust but the players missing shots despite the fact that they have perfectly good looks.
The next game is this Tuesday at New Orleans which is another spot where the Clippers rarely win. Chris Paul always seem to have our number and the Hornets is undefeated at the moment so this isn’t going to be an easy win. The Hornets was also able to give the Miami Heat their second loss of the season so there must be some adrenaline rush going through their mind after beating the most hyped up team in the world right now. The game starts at 5:00PM and can be caught on Prime Ticket. Hopefully Eric Gordon’s shoulder sprain is not that serious and he can be good to go for the game. If not, we’re going to need super performances by Eric Bledsoe and Blake Griffin and hopefully Chris Kaman.