That’s the Clippers record on this current road trip. Considering how well this team performed before embarking on this seven game trip, this isn’t a welcome sign. After defeating a bruised and battered Memphis Grizzlies game, this Clippers team found themselves down against an underwhelming Cleveland Cavaliers team, losing 88-82.
Defensively, things were improved. At least compared to how this group performed in Atlanta. In what’s becoming quite the theme, a theme many aren’t shocked at, the Clippers once again struggled to score points without J.J. Redick. They scored their lowest output of the season with 80 points. Made 28 field goals, a season low. Shot 20 percent from behind the arc, a bottom-five season low. Things just didn’t happen.
I never thought Redick’s injury would hurt the offense this much, but some regression from Chris Paul combined with the drop-off from Redick to Willie Green and Jamal Crawford not being near ‘godly’ and you’ve got the recipe for a disaster. That’s the story for tonight. The three mentioned players in Paul, Green, and Crawford combined for 13-of-47 from the field, 5-of-23 from behind the arc. Even against a Cavaliers team that has played far from what was expected of the during the preseason, that won’t cut it.
Even Blake Griffin had a rough night, adding fire to the flames. His 3-of-12 for 10 points, a season low, didn’t help.
In fact, the biggest thing that happened featuring Blake Griffin was a shoving match with the always-annoying Anderson Varejao (17 rebounds in 22 minutes), where Blake did what most have asked of him since joining the league: defending himself against players, showing he isn’t as ‘soft’ as many think he is.
For the Cleveland Cavaliers, they were led by the trio of Kyrie Irving, Andrew Bynum, and Tristan Thompson. Bynum, a noted Clippers killer, finished the game with 18 points on 6-for-13 shooting. Despite being out of shape and a shell of the dominant player we once saw dawning the purple-and-gold with the Los Angeles Lakers, his huge frame was too much for DeAndre Jordan to handle. Kyrie Irving, coming off an 0-for-9 for 0 points performance against the Hawks redeemed himself with a 20 point performance. Thompson finished with 20 points also, but added 13 rebounds.
To add injury to insult (literally), rookie forward Reggie Bullock and DeAndre Jordan both left the game in the fourth quarter, both foot injuries. It’s unclear how serious Jordan’s twisting of the ankle was, but many of the Clippers media spotted Bullock in a walking boot and on crutches post-game. If either is serious, this is bad news. Short at the wings the team is, and they have no one on the bench that could attempt to replace DeAndre Jordan’s replacement.
But with the mess that’s ensuing, the show goes on. The Clippers have a day off Sunday before heading to Philly. Energy has been an issue, but maybe they’ll rise to the occasion against a scrappy Philadelphia 76ers team to finally win a road game against an Eastern Conference team. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, make sure to grab some Clippers @ 76ers tickets to cheer on the team in enemy territory.