Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Blake Griffin has had some slow 4th quarters this month. That wasn’t a problem against the Timberwolves, as he scored 12 of his 26 points in the 4th, making 5-of-6 from the field, making a three, and completing a three-point play. Griffin also added 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 blocks.
That was … not a repeat of Wednesday: On Wednesday, the Clippers hosted a Utah Jazz squad that they had beaten 13 straight times. The Clippers laid an egg in that one, running out of energy and starting their season-long homestand with a loss. The Clippers had beaten the Timberwolves 12 straight times entering Sunday’s game, and despite giving up another 38 points in the 4th quarter, the Clippers made it 13 straight wins over the Timberwolves.
X factor: SF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute became the 11th player to start a game for the Clippers this season, replacing Wesley Johnson. Mbah a Moute won a camp battle with Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Chuck Hayes to get the last spot on the Clippers roster, and head coach Doc Rivers said that Mbah a Moute’s defense was a factor in him getting the nod Sunday. Mbah a Moute did finish with 7 points, 2 made threes, and a 4th quarter steal – but the starting SF position is clear as mud going into December.
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Josh Smith's family is sitting next to my dad. I said to have them tell Josh to stop shooting 3 pointers
— Ricky Chu (@RikDaddy) November 29, 2015
I like to imagine the Clippers take all their frustration against refs out on waiters and are horrible tippers
— Myles Brown (@mdotbrown) November 29, 2015
Check Your Messages
The Clippers have won two games in a row for the first time since game four of the season; for fans, it is a relief. For basketball wonks, it’s something of a delayed sense of satisfaction. And for the team itself, it’s hopefully a wake up call; the PT broadcast made much of the Clips’ late game mantra of “sustain.” It is the one thing that everyone can agree the Clippers haven’t done in this weird stretch of borderline unwatchable basketball. Say whatever you want about poor rotation, lack of rebounding, bench instability, or Chris Paul’s (fictional) tendency to choke in tight games. Peel away all these layers (or outright lies), and you’ll find the same nugget of truth: the Clippers have not demonstrated any consistent sense of urgency for all 48 minutes of any given basketball game this year. These last two games have looked like a turning point. Now, it is up to all of these players to live up to their new
dictate if they want their rediscovered success to last.
– Aaron Williams
As far as cliché’s go, we’ve heard that Championship contending teams win the ugly games. Furious 4th quarter rallies from an opponent can stretch a team to it’s limits. Contenders have a response to this and typically everything else. Essentially, what separates them from merely “good” is the propensity to squeeze a victory from the jaws of a bad loss. Add up a few potential “bad losses” on crisp November and December nights and you have what is surely tangible effects on playoff positioning later in the season. Despite the melodrama of early season NBA basketball, every minute of every game holds value.
The early stages of this season have clearly shown us the Clippers have issues that will need to be sorted out. But there are positives to gain from responding to an upstart and suddenly talent-stocked Timberwolf team that came hard charging in the 4th quarter. Now the game becomes about sustained focus and consistency.
– Kaveh Jam