Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul continues his recent streak of excellent performances with a night where he notched 26 points on 11-21 shooting along with 7 assists and 6 rebounds. He continually made big shots in the fourth quarter to keep the Pacers at bay, racking up 11 of his points in the quarter alone.
That was … a reversal from Sunday: The bench couldn’t do right on Sunday against the Raptors, but today, they got the team rolling amidst a first-quarter cold streak that allowed an early Pacers lead to balloon to nine. Wes Johnson would make back-to-back threes to cut the lead down, Austin Rivers was able to find open paths to the rim as the game remained close in the second quarter, and Pablo Prigioni continued his pick-pocketing savvy to give the Clippers the largest lead of the game.
X factor: The three-pointer was falling early and often, as 15 of the 32 field goals the Clippers made were from behind the arc. They would finish with a plus 30 advantage on the long ball.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
The Clippers losing this game could be a tough… break.
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 27, 2016
Chris Paul is a terror. That little Fat Joe lean back pull-up J over Paul George. Just gotta take hats off for that coldness.
— Jared Wade (@8pts9secs) January 27, 2016
— Isaac Lowenkron (@isaaclowenkron) January 27, 2016
Check Your Messages
If this win had been against the Indiana Pacers team that the Clippers faced earlier in the season, some may have considered it a signature win. It wasn’t, so it’s not.
If the win against Miami — a game without Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan, no less — had been against a full-strength Heat team, perhaps that may have been considered a signature win. It wasn’t, so it’s not.
The common feeling that this team hasn’t proven anything is understandable; the second-round exits, the losses to the upper echelon, and the questions that continually surround the talent of the roster extending beyond the team’s Big Three are all valid concerns. And yet, in the regular season, these Clippers have put up three consecutive seasons of 56 or more wins. They have a division title to add to it, and have won over 60% of their regular season games the last four years.
Frankly, there is nothing left for these Clippers to prove in the regular season.
A 30 point loss to the Warriors doesn’t define what the Spurs are this season, and there is every expectation that the team Gregg Popovich rolls out in the postseason will be far better than the one witnessed on a Monday in January. These Clippers are no Spurs, but the playoffs remain the area where they need to prove themselves. How they get there, and what lineups notch those wins — especially when one of the team’s two best players won’t play in nearly half of these regular season games — matters less than what they do when they get there.