Last week we wrote that a 2-2 split this week for the Los Angeles Clippers would be a good week. The Clippers then went 2-2 for the week so it was a good week. Although, they did go about things a bit differently than we thought, in the end they got the job done.
Going into the week, we said with the Houston Rockets at home, then road games at the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and then the Rockets, the Clippers needed to win the Monday night game and the Wednesday night game in Orlando. The thinking there was the Thursday game at the defending champs house would be difficult and then the Rockets would be out for some payback at home on Saturday.
Our worry in this was the Clippers would not play well in Orlando and would get surprised by an improving Magic squad. Our warning to the team was “don’t let the Heat beat you twice.” But that’s exactly what the Clippers did. Chris Paul and J. J. Redick both had off nights and they sleepwalked through the first half and found themselves down by 15 at the break.
They rallied in the third quarter thanks in large part to the efforts of Jamal Crawford and went into the fourth quarter with a two-point lead. But as is so often the case when a team expends a lot of energy coming from behind, they ran out of gas at the end and lost to the Magic 98-90.
The next night, the Clippers hung tough in Miami but Dwayne Wade’s 29 points led the Heat to a five-point win, 102-97. So the Clippers were looking at a 1-3 week going into Houston to face Dwight Howard and the Rockets. It would be the third L.A. vs Dwight match-up this week. Coming into the game, they had lost the first two. The last one was a heart-breaker to his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers on a Steve Blake three-pointer to win 99-98.
So the Clippers were facing a motivated Rockets team in dire need of a win. But behind an equally motivated Clippers who used an 18-0 run to beat Houston 197-94. Jamal Crawford’s tip in off a missed jumper from J. J. Redick at the buzzer gave L. A. a 73-71 lead to start the fourth quarter as they ended the third on a 13-0 run.
So the Clippers can look back at the week and lament the loss at Orlando and think that they missed a great chance to go 3-1 or feel lucky that they came back from a double digit deficit to beat a tough Houston team to avoid going 1-3 for the week. At the end of the week though, they were probably what they should have been, 2-2.