Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: With a leap towards the basket or a power dribble through the paint, DeAndre Jordan could be seen stuffing the ball through the rim often. He lead all starters in points and rebounds with 22 and 13, respectively. All nine of his made field goals were of the slam dunk variety, and he even made over half of his free throws.
That was … great shooting: For only the third time in franchise history, the Clippers shot over 60% on their field goals and finished with a True Shooting Percentage above 70%. One would have to go back to March 10, 2013 against the Detroit Pistons to find a game where the Clippers also shot that well.
X factor: The bench had another terrific night on offense, scoring 58 points and allowing the starters to sit out the 4th quarter. During the 6-game win streak, they have been averaging 45.3 points a game.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
I suspect his other 254 FTs also factored into their decision. https://t.co/xfYz3pPv3q
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) January 3, 2016
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 3, 2016
Clippers have now won 31 straight games in which they've shot 50 percent or better from 3-point range. Longest active streak in NBA
— Rowan Kavner (@RowanKavner) January 3, 2016
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Lob City Lives
It was all fun and games just four years ago. In the off-season of the truncated 2011-12 campaign, the Clippers were gifted the best point guard in the league, and a giddy Blake Griffin coined the now infamous phrase that defined the most exciting era in Clippers franchise history:
“It’s going to be Lob City!”
Well, we all know how that season turned out. While not as bad as the disastrous collapses that followed, the Clips were easily routed in the second round of the playoffs by the more refined, precisely-engineered game of the San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers performed an abrupt and express about-face, loudly proclaiming their animosity toward their flippantly applied moniker and seeking a more serious identity. However, it seems as though they have been in search of that identity ever since; the book on the former NBA whipping boy is that they don’t quite know what they want to be.
Tonight, against the floundering 76ers, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan decided to turn back the clock and the results speak for themselves: DJ accumulated nine (NINE!) dunks, all off spectacular passes that brought the crowd to their feet and revived the sense of fun that has been missing since stewardship of the team passed to Doc Rivers. While entertaining, this may also reveal a simple truth the team has sought to deny in this more austere, “win first” sensibility of recent seasons: You are who you are. Perhaps in running so obstinately from the Lob City identity that first brought them success, they’ve missed out on the key to sustaining that success in the postseason.
True, no team can win being totally one-dimensional, but instead of trying to revamp every year, the Clippers should embrace everything that Lob City brought to the franchise and add more dimensions as they now have the personnel – and experience – to shift gears when the games slow down. They can rely on Blake Griffin’s expanded arsenal, Paul Pierce’s crafty footwork and patience, and J.J. Redick’s surefire stroke off a well-set screen to score when the going gets tough. And when all else fails, they can always fall back on old faithful: “The Lob – THE JAM!”
The 76ers were down 29 points going into the 4th quarter tonight. At least some of y’all had to have a flashback to last Friday night, Christmas at the Lakers. Even though the Clippers ended that game with a 10-point margin of victory, they didn’t exactly finish. A 28-point lead was reduced to single digits, and the starters had to close it out – that also turned out to be Blake Griffin’s last action in uniform before an MRI revealed a partial tear in his quadriceps the next morning.
Perhaps things would have been different for the Clippers on Christmas night if Austin Rivers, he of the frequent garbage time fire performances, had been available.
Rivers scored 14 of his game-high 26 points in the last quarter, jacking up shots without conscious. This, coming from a player who made it a point to get in Suns forward Mirza Teletovic’s grill earlier this season for blowout decorum.
But Rivers needed this – and the Clippers did too. Rivers tied a career-high with 11 made field goals, and the 76ers never had a chance to repeat what the Lakers did on Christmas. The Clippers lead got up to 39 points – the largest of the season. For Rivers, it was the kind of finish that surely would have been more appreciated had it come last Friday. Keep in mind that Rivers’ season flashed before him just two weeks ago when he sprained his ankle in a loss at Houston. He was making 21 percent of his 3s then. Since he came back, Rivers has made 9-of-17 3s (53 percent) and 55 percent from the field overall.
“Sometimes, Doc (I call him Doc when I’m here), goes into panic mode,” Young Rivers said, in reference to the starters having to re-enter the game late on Christmas. “It’s a learning experience … you saw tonight, we said, ‘we’re going to extend [the lead]. We’ve been doing it for the past week … it’s huge for our guys to get rest.'”