Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Damian Lillard was the league’s top scorer in the 4th quarter just a season ago, and tonight he showed why. Scoring 11 of his 27 points in the final frame, the All-Star turned a 2 point Blazers lead into a blowout.
That was … too many second chances: The Clippers rebounding woes were on full display this evening, giving up 17 offensive rebounds and 25 second chance points. With any ball bounding off the rim constantly appearing to land in the hands of a Blazer, it’s a surprise that Portland only had a +13 edge on rebounding on the night.
X factor: The duo of Mason Plumlee and Ed Davis absolutely manhandled the paint tonight, scoring 26 of their combined 35 points at the rim. Both players would notch double-doubles in points and rebounds on the night.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
DeAndre Jordan's block on Mason Plumlee's reverse slam attempt is pretty ridiculous pic.twitter.com/s8S8eRVVRG
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) November 21, 2015
⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️LILLARD TIME⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️⌚️ https://t.co/voyBeW6xD2
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) November 21, 2015
The Clippers have been out-scored 3-to-1 (39-13) in the final 5 minutes of their last two games.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 21, 2015
Check Your Messages
In the last three games, the player formerly known as Born Ready has been the invisible man. Which makes – y’know – absolutely no sense. Why would Doc go get a small forward in the offseason, only to play Jamal Crawford at the 3 in crunchtime? There are questions that need answers.
Aside from Jamal’s monstrous game the other night he’s been kind of atrocious. If he’s not stopping the ball at crucial junctures of the game, he’s taking bad shots halfway through the clock. Pull-up threes with a hand in his face with 11 over the board are not the shots an offense seeks to take. Meanwhile, Stephenson played fewer minutes than even Wes Johnson, who solid in his 21 minutes tonight, with 4 points and a +2 rating.
Even worse, it seems that Lance’s lack of minutes and clearly defined role with the club have had a detrimental effect on his confidence. In his 18 minutes tonight, he was -6 and only scored 2 points. Gone are the fancy assists to DJ’s that electrified in his early starts; instead we’ve been treated to watching the young man sell wolf tickets from the bench, while Crawford leaves his man wide open on the outside and gives up HOV lanes to the basket.
It’s been a bad week for the Clippers and their fans (especially yours truly); I don’t mean to suggest that Lance Stephenson is the answer, but something has to change. It’s clear that the Clippers won’t survive 82 games of 35 year-old knees bearing the brunt of the final 6 minutes of tight contests. The formula they are using is not working and it’s time to shake things up; it might be fun to keep your new toys pristine in their packages, but there are no bonus points for keeping them in mint condition in this league.
It’s time to take that shiny new action figure out of the plastic and let him play.
– Aaron Williams
Familiarity in Unfamiliarity
Losses to bad teams are expected during the course of an 82 game regular season. The same can be said of losses on the second night of a back-to-back. And yet, when combined with the sting of bitter defeat the night before, the how’s and why’s of tonight feel magnified. It may not matter in the long run, given the favorable stretch of games the Clippers have between now and their December road trip, but it’s hard to escape a feeling deep-down inside that seems all too similar to previous seasons of promise unfulfilled.
Improved rosters, organizational change, and new ownership are all welcome in concept, but once the honeymoon phase wears off, it leaves fans and onlookers alike to wonder when all that will bear fruit. Fandom is largely a “grass is greener” engagement, and for Clipper lifers, it has been a lifetime of not knowing the other side.
And that’s what enables the panic, the frustration, and the inability to trust in a process.
It’s not that this team won’t turn it around, or that it can’t. But losses like tonight’s always seem to trigger this fanbase’s fears and anxieties, deeply rooted in their ugly past.
– Brandon Tomyoy