Los Angeles Clippers
MVP:There were other candidates for this ClipperBlog award, but there’s only one editor – and I’m going with Greivis Vasquez. The Clippers had their starters on the floor to start the fourth quarter, but Vasquez hit three of his game-high four threes in the final period. Vasquez led the Raptors with 12 fourth quarter points to close out the Clippers.
That was … a steamroller:As a native of the East coast, I love it when good Eastern Conference teams beat good Western Conference teams (I’m on the lonely island that doesn’t want the playoff format to change, but that’s another story). I’m not saying it was great to see the Clippers get stomped on for the second straight night. But the Raptors swept the Clippers this year, and in convincing fashion. That’s a good basketball team, and it’s the second time this year they cleaned out the Clippers after getting outscored in the first quarter.
X factor: The Clippers were up by as much as 20 points in the first quarter, and they were up by nine when an unlikely force entered the game for the first time in the second quarter – James Johnson. One of the league’s most unique athletes, James Johnson had scored a total of eight points in the Raptors’ last 11 games. Johnson had 12 points in the second quarter alone, helping to cut the Clippers’ lead to two at halftime. Johnson finished with 16 points, making all seven field goal attempts and both free throws.
— Law Murray
Tweets Of The Game
— Lori Ewing (@Ewingsports) February 7, 2015
give bebe a mic and get out of his way.
— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) February 7, 2015
Check Your Messages
OMG! TNT, ESPN, ABC…
Okay, enough acronyms. There was a time when a nationally televised Clippers game was rarer than an Ekpe Udoh sighting. You know what they say though, “With great success comes greater televised responsibility.” So, for the past two nights, the Clippers have graced living rooms across the country with their presence; and for the second night in a row, they’ve dialled up an absolute stinker.
Sadly, at this point, the Clippers’ reputation precedes them — they flop, they argue and they aren’t “true” contenders. For a moment though, just a quarter, the Clippers responded. They were aggressive offensively and defensively, they forced turnovers, hit shots and pushed the ball in transition. And then they disappeared — vanished before our very eyes, leaving behind nothing but bad memories and old habits. Suddenly the pasting last night in Cleveland looked a little bit worse, the slightest signs of a hissy fit (Blake Griffin was T’d up) meant last night’s controversy between CP3 and Holtkamp reared its ugly head again. The doubts surrounding the Clippers were broadcast loud and clear.
Instead of marvelling at the beauty of Golden State and Atlanta, the League’s two best teams go head-to-head, the Clippers’ flaws were on full display again. Here’s to hoping they show up Sunday against the Thunder — FYI it’s on ABC.
– Roscoe Whalan
Not For You
We have arrived at the nadir point of the Clippers 2014-2015 season. Of all times and places, it might as well come here, in the middle of the Grammy trip, in Canada. About as far away from home as you can get.
The Clippers haven’t lost three straight games since they lost four straight in the 2013 NBA playoffs. Doc Rivers was still coaching the Boston Celtics. So we’re in unchartered territory for the Doc Rivers era.
As Roscoe alluded to earlier, the Clippers have more than just the back-to-back blowouts to deal with. Chris Paul’s comments criticizing the officiating Thursday night fired up a conversation that will be had in a more appropriate forum later. But key phrases resonated as the team prepared to play in Toronto Friday night: “I think we have to show better composure” and “This might not be for her.”
Paul knows that his team lacks poise right now. But just like he lost control of the postgame context Thursday night, the Clippers haven’t shown that they can control games or their emotions. Two more technical fouls tonight in a game that saw them on both sides of a blowout. The durability that held things together is coming undone with J.J. Redick out.
The Clippers have overcome adversity before, but they’re getting in their own way now. They have one more back-to-back to finish the road trip, then they play one more home game before the All-Star break. Hopefully, the Clippers show that they are still about keeping it together and breaking even on the trip.
– Law Murray