The NBA should be happy about the performance put on by the Los Angeles Clippers in full Lob City mode, with Chris Paul making Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan impressing high above the rim with alley oop dunks, but also concerned about how bad the Philadelphia 76ers looked in a game that was about everything except for parity and avoiding tanking.
The Clippers finished with a 123-78 win over the 76ers, who scored only 15 first quarter points and were down by 31 after 12 minutes. They were down 0-13 right out of the gate, scoring only 30 first half points. The 76ers shot 15.4% from the field in the first half, the lowest by any team in the NBA in any half since the Hornets shot 14.3% on December 12, 2010. The Clippers’ 31 point lead by the end of the first quarter is the largest by any NBA team since Feb. 7, 2001 (Timberwolves led the Kings by 31).
Brett Brown tried to make this into a learning experience instead of something he and his players should be ashamed of: That’s an intense, defensive-oriented athletic type of team. We ran into a buzz saw and we got jumped early. What an incredible opportunity for a young point guard like Michael Carter-Williams to see Chris Paul play and to play against him.
Carter-Williams turned the ball over 8 times, finishing with 5-of-18 from the field. The 76ers simply tried to run with the Clippers which was impossible, but this team doesn’t have a different M.O at the moment, which meant they were doomed against a team it’s not wise to try and play fast basketball against.
The Clippers got Chris Paul back after a long absence due to a shoulder injury. Paul played for 23 minutes, scoring 7 points and adding 8 assists. It was the perfect game for him to simply have fun, as the 76ers made it easy for the Clippers’ defense and offense, scoring 32 points off turnovers and holding Philly to only 27% from the field, taking 100 shots.
Those misses meant big rebounding numbers for Griffin (11) and DeAndre Jordan (20). The Clippers finished with a 59-44 win in the rebounding category, while getting 60 points in the paint. Blake Griffin scored 26 points on 11-of-14 from the field and Jordan Crawford provided a different kind of scoring to the game with 21 points.
It felt great just to play. You never know what it’s going to be like until you actually get out there and compete. A lot of things go through your mind out there, especially when you come back because you want to make sure you’re not too tired and not trying too hard. But at the same time, we’ve been playing extremely well and I didn’t want to break up our rhythm.
The Clippers improved to 22-4 at home this season, the third best home record in the NBA. They’re 5.5 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the chase for the Western top spot, and are hoping that this kind of defense doesn’t only show up against feeble teams like the 76ers, as their Lob City persona isn’t going to get them too far in the playoffs without defensive support.