Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Paul Millsap took full advantage of having smaller defenders against him on the night, scoring with ease and gobbling up rebounds as he pleased. The Atlanta forward would finish the night with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting along with 18 rebounds — 5 of which were on the offensive end.
That was … the tortoise and the hare: The Clippers leaped out to a 17 point lead early in the second quarter, but were not able to keep pace. Instead, the Hawks would outscore the Clippers by 27 points from the 10:00 mark of the period and on, though the 19 turnovers the Clippers committed after the 1st quarter certainly played a part in it.
X factor: Mike Budenholzer decided to turn to Hack-a-DJ midway through the 4th quarter while the game remained close. During this time, the Hawks would go on an 11-1 run, and Doc Rivers would substitute DeAndre Jordan out of the game.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Doc Rivers says 6th Man of the Year will be named after @JCrossover when he's done playing
— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) March 6, 2016
More like Mike Budenhacker
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 6, 2016
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Wiped Clean on the Glass (Again)
It’s widely known by now that the Clippers are a subpar rebounding team. It’s actually a pretty significant deficiency to have as a championship contender. In fact, the three teams ahead of L.A. in the West are all solid-to-elite rebounding teams. The Thunder and Spurs are both 1 and 2 in the league in rebounding differential (+7.5 and +4.3 respectively). The Warriors are not too far behind at 7th.
The Clippers sit on the other end of that spectrum – 26th in the league to be exact. It’s staggering when you realize they have a center in DeAndre Jordan who is a premier individual rebounder (2nd in the league).
The excessive harping on rebounding is appropriate on a night they got waxed cleaner than a windex shine on the boards. It’s not just that they got out-hustled by 12 in that category by a team who amazingly rank even worse than they do – but that the timing of some of the offensive boards given up were back-breaking.
It’s daunting to play uphill against one of the league’s best defensive teams. Now imagine compounding that by getting dusted on rebounds at crucial moments – like Paul Millsap’s offensive put back with 2 minutes left that effectively put this game away.
When Chris Paul arrived in L.A. back in 2011, he was joining a Clippers team that averaged 16.4 turnovers per game in 2010-2011. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves averaged more that season.
Since 2011, Paul has led a Clippers team that has averaged only 13.5 turnovers per game. Only the Charlotte franchise has averaged fewer turnovers per game in that time, and Paul’s Clippers average three more assists per game than Charlotte in that span.
The turnover margin is a major key to success for the Clippers. In the Clippers’ 37-point 1st quarter, L.A. didn’t have a single turnover. With the Clippers up at halftime, Chris Paul had 15 points (6/12 FGs), 7 assists, and no turnovers.
It was a wrap after that, though. The Hawks forced 19 Clippers turnovers in the final three quarters tonight, a period of time that saw the Clippers outscored 82-60. And after a strong first half, Paul had a forgettable 2nd half: 2 points (0/4 FGs), 4 assists, 4 turnovers. Both Atlanta PGs outscored him in the 2nd half (12 2nd half points for Jeff Teague, 6 2nd half points for Dennis Schröder).
The Hawks have been a top-10 team in forcing turnovers ever since Teague became a starter in 2011. They got even better with Paul Millsap’s arrival. The defensive activity of Atlanta threw this game through a loop for CP3 and the Clippers, and the result was a major letdown after Wednesday night’s comeback – and Saturday night’s great start.