That was icky. Turnovers, clanked shots, poor rotations, injuries. Gross, right? No Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Chauncey Billups, or Jamal Crawford should mean that’s probably going to happen. The good news for the Clippers is that they finally pulled out a win on this road trip, one they desperately needed before traveling to Miami and New York this weekend. So now the Clips find themselves ending a losing streak, even if it wasn’t completely in the way they would have liked to do it. For now, onto Last Call:
Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
MVP: Eric Bledsoe. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford all sidelined, the bulk of the possessions went to Eric Bledsoe — and he made good use of them. Bledsoe dropped a career-high 27 points and tossed in 6 steals for good measure.
X-Factor: Turnovers. At one point in the second quarter, both teams had as many turnovers as made field goals. This was ugly throughout, but the Clippers straightened up their act in the second half and cut down on the mistakes to grab the win.
This was…hideous: The Clippers and Magic were both shorthanded, but let’s not make excuses. I counted at least seven airballs, and both teams hovered below 40 percent shooting most of the night.
– D.J. Foster
Tweet of the Game
DeAndre Jordan felt Blake Griffin and Matt Barnes’ hair before the game and joked, “I wish I had a white mom.”
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 6, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
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How Did They Beat Moe Harkless
“Sometimes when you’re losing, you forget how to win,” basketball philosopher Grant Hill said in his postgame interview. It took the bare-boned Clippers the entire first half to remember how to win. For this gutsy group, getting the best of the Magic required doing the little things correctly and putting in the extra effort.
The Clippers turned the ball over eleven times in the first half and only three times in the second half. During the same time intervals, they had four offensive rebounds and nine defensive rebounds. It wasn’t like the rotation of role players all of a sudden transformed into super efficient scorers during halftime (FG: 16/38 and FT: 6/10 in the first half alongside FG: 17/44 and FT: 8/12 in the second half).
The Clippers scrapped this win. They played smart defensively and patient offensively in the final two frames without any single player overestimating his own capacity to contribute. With a conspicuous dearth of star talent on the court, the shorthanded Clips seemed to embrace their ragtag identity.
– Michael Shagrin
Don’t Criticize If You Can’t Legitimize
Ryan Hollins and DeAndre Jordan looked a bit clueless on some defensive possessions when they were both on the floor, but you can’t put any stock into that. Hollins and Jordan had played exactly one minute on the floor together all season coming into tonight, but because of injuries, they found themselves playing together more than they’re used to against the Magic.
Defensive rotations and help defense are more about communication than anything else. The best defensive players talk more than Kathy Griffin on a late-night talk show. And that communication is a stem of chemistry, which builds over time, not in a night. The Jordan and Hollins lineup may have slightly struggled on the defensive end, but don’t let that deter you from lauding either of those players tonight. Even though it wasn’t always pretty, both were a major reason for the Clipper win.
– Fred Katz
Bledsoe in the Spotlight
With the Clippers hit hard by the injury bug and their top three guards sidelined, Eric Bledsoe did not shy away from the pressure of his increased workload on Wednesday night. He had 27 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds and 6 steals. Before the game, Billups and Paul took turns giving Bledsoe some pointers as they normally do pregame with Billups watching game film on his iPad with Bledsoe as he sat in front of on his locker before the game. Bledsoe looked like a different point guard Wednesday. He has shown flashes of brilliance during his 12 games as a starter in place of Paul, but this was probably his most complete game and the one in which he fully embraced his role as a leader. He not only came through with a big shot or big steals when the team needed it most but also gathered the team together time after time to settle them down and give directions.
– Arash Markazi at ESPNLosAngeles
Bizarre Ride III
Remember on Monday I mentioned the plethora of oddities at every stop on this season-high eight-game road trip? Now tonight’s game featured seven key players across both teams sitting out for various ailments in addition to one head trainer tearing his Achilles the day before Billups’ one-year anniversary of his own injury.
– Andrew Han