Maybe it was the fatigue or playing less than 24 hours before in the mile high altitude of Denver. Or the awful news of the death of Donald Sterling’s son. Or the double whammy of Caron Butler being gone from their lineup for a similar reason.
But whatever it was, the Clippers better find a way back to their winning ways after dropping a second straight to run their losing streak to two games.
For the second straight night, the Los Angeles Clippers were manhandled on the road, this time by their (2nd place) divisional rival, Golden State. Indeed, the Warriors dominated in just about every category, out rebounding, out shooting, out defending, and out hustling the Clippers for all but a short stretch of the 2nd period, when their 18 point lead was cut to 2. Stephen Curry led the way with 31 points (25 in the first half) and forward David Lee, doing his best impression of Kevin Love, barely missed a triple double with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. Klay Thompson poured in another 19 points to go along with 11 off the bench from Jarrett Jack.
As for the Clippers, Chris Paul managed to score 23 points, but 10 were at the free throw line (CP3 actually missed two of his 12 attempts) and the Warriors made sure nothing came easy with constant double teams. Jamal Crawford bounced back from his sub par performance in Denver with 24 points in 35 minutes. Crawford was forced to play more minutes due to a hapless outing from Willie Green, who couldn’t hit wide open shots yet again and was even worse defensively. Chauncey Billups can’t come back quickly enough to put Green back at the end of the bench, certainly. Matt Barnes, starting for the absent Caron Butler (out due to a death in his family), was once again a spark plug, especially when the Clippers made their 2nd quarter run to whittle down the Warriors’ initial lead.
But the real story of the night – indeed the last two losses – has been the poor play of Blake Griffin. After scoring only 7 points in Denver the previous night, Blake could only manage 10 points on 2-11 shooting, looking tentative in the post and struggling to penetrate as the Warriors threw double teams at him every time he received the ball down low. With the Clippers shooting woes continuing, the Warriors almost conceded the outside shot to stop Griffin and their gamble paid off. David Lee, Festus Ezeli, and Harrison Barnes swarmed him and made sure to dole out the hard fouls, disrupting Blake’s normal paths toward the basket and forcing him to the free throw line (where he was a decent 6-10). DeAndre Jordan looked lost at both ends after his stellar performance in Denver, managing only 4 points and being beaten repeatedly for easy baskets by Lee.
The real question now is whether Denver and Golden State have validated Charles’ Barkley’s proclamation that the Clippers are vulnerable in the half court offense and is this a blueprint other teams will now employ against them for the remainder of the season. The Clippers will certainly have to get more scoring from their front line and play better perimeter defense if they are to get back to their winning ways Friday against the Lakers would be the perfect time to break this dubious streak and get back to Clipper basketball.
Tags: Blake Griffin Caron Butler Chauncey Billups Chris Paul DeAndre Jordan Eric Bledsoe Grant Hill Jamal Crawford LA Clippers Lamar Odom Lob City Los Angeles Clippers Los Angeles Clippers Matt Barnes NBA Vinny Del Negro Warriors