Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Jamal Crawford came through with his second 30-plus point outing in a start, finishing the night with 32 on 11-19 shooting with 5 assists. He would also reach a season high in three-pointers made, one of those leading to the 43rd four-point play of his career.
That was … a late-game rally: The Clippers were 0-7 coming into tonight when taking a deficit into the 4th quarter, and were down by as much as 10 points with 5:26 left in the game. What followed was a furious 17-5 run to finish the game and earn the victory.
X factor: Spacing has been a persistent issue for the Clippers this season, especially in the absence of J.J. Redick, and that was answered tonight by pairing both Jamal Crawford and Wesley Johnson on the floor. The pair took advantage of the expanse behind the arc to make 6 threes each, many of which without a defender within 5 feet.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) December 6, 2015
Doc's rotation has been solid tonight. Playing Blake, DJ, Wes and Lance more, which is what they need given struggles of other players.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) December 6, 2015
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) December 6, 2015
In the Clippers' two wins without CP3 and JJ Redick, Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford have scored 131 combined points.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 6, 2015
Check Your Messages
Wes Side Story
When the Clippers signed Small Forward Wesley Johnson to a one-year contract over the summer, the collective response of Clipper Nation was a guarded, unenthusiastic “meh”. Lakers fans were only too delighted to ridicule the pickup, pointing out how little impact he’d had on their team the preceding season.
Well, who’s laughing now?
Wesley Johnson has quietly been having a resurgent season with the team from across the hall, shooting a little over 50% on the season while being one of the few Clippers wings to consistently the three-ball, mostly from the corners. Tonight, he had his best game in a Clippers uniform (attributable, I’m sure, to the “snazzy” new black numbers that were rolled out for this season’s DTLA-themed games), maintaining his 50% shooting streak, with 21 points – all from three – which is a career high for both attempts and makes. He also corralled 7 rebounds and 3 steals, making this one of his best games in his 5-year NBA career.
It’s safe to say the Clippers lose this game without Johnson’s timely contributions, so Clippers fans remain hopeful that he can continue to provide solid play to bolster the team through the recent spell of injuries to their star backcourt.
– Aaron Williams
Before the game, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers tried to soften the potential blow of losing this home game tonight. Perhaps he was protecting his veteran team. Maybe he could sense another disappointing loss coming, with reserves in the backcourt and a hot, young team in the Magic looking for their 6th straight W.
Fast forward to the 4th quarter. The Clippers were getting smacked in their black Saturday night jerseys. Orlando was killing them on the offensive glass, Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton were getting to the paint and scoring at will, and Aaron Gordon was flying around on both ends of the floor. An 8-0 Magic run left the Clippers trailing 89-77 with 9:16 left to play. The crowd, energized by Silentó and the Kid Clippers, deemed this whimpering Clippers effort unacceptable. If the crowd wasn’t pleased with the technical difficulties postponing the Kid Clippers, they weren’t going to put up with a Clippers loss on the home date for a week and a half.
But like the Detroit game, the Clippers turned it on, only much later. The Clippers only sustained one good run in this game, but it was at the best time possible – crunch time. After a Clippers timeout with 5:27 left to play, Griffin made a layup. Then Oladipo was subbed out. Wrong move, Scott Skiles. By time Oladipo came back into the game with 1:07 left to play, the Clippers had went on a 15-2 run. Jamal Crawford’s 6th 3 of the game gave the Clippers their first lead since early in the 3rd quarter. The Magic would finish the game missing 7 of their last 8 shots, and getting outscored by Crawford 10-5 over the last 5:27.
It was a timely response by the Clippers – one that a crowd will remember. After all, the Clippers lost the previous 7 games this season in which they trailed headed into the final quarter.
– Law Murray
Blake Griffin’s game continues to evolve and surprise in ways that can leave even his most frequent audience in awe. The jump shot has certainly improved, and seeing the point of release closer and closer to the height of his jump. The passing has impressed all through last season, and continues to factor heavily in the Clippers offense — especially when Chris Paul and J.J. Redick have been sidelined. He’s even quietly been a 40% shooter from behind the arc between this current season and one before it.
And now, new for the 2015-2016 season, he’s seemed to have added a new weapon to his arsenal: the one-handed crossover. It was shown most prominently in the Utah Jazz game as bringing the ball behind him and dribbling it back to the front through his own two legs lead to a wide-open path through the paint for a dunk. It appeared again tonight, and while there was no dunk this time, it again surprised the defense enough to send Blake to the line.
It’s like he’s flashing the attributes of several different species, each time queuing up the one ability that will allow him to best size up his prey. Bigger and scarier indeed.
– Brandon Tomyoy