Game #18 | December 1, 2013
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
On one hand, they were playing without J.J. Redick (hand/wrist) for the first time and had a somewhat listless opening few minutes yet put themselves in position to win the game in the final minute. However, they also fell behind by as many as 14 points to a team with the league’s best record and were unable to do enough to erase it.
The Clippers (12-6) allowed 17 offensive rebounds, including five in the last 1:16 of the game. Theparade of second chances started when David West missed a step-back jumper and Paul George grabbed the board and earned two free throws for Roy Hibbert to put Indiana up by four. The Pacers (16-1) grabbed four more in a 19-second span, including a board by Lance Stephenson that led to two free throws and one that got batted to West after Stephenson missed his second foul shot with 6.8 seconds left and the Clippers down just three.
“It was just a scramble,” Blake Griffin said of Indiana’s final, and most devastating, rebound. “We couldn’t get our hands on it. It was a tap out on the free throw and then another tap, so we’ve just got to do a better job on the initial [shot attempt].”
Griffin finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and two assists, while Chris Paul, who returned after a one-game absence with a strained right hamstring, scored 17 points with 10 assists.
Paul said after the game that he physically “was cool,” but sounded frustrated by a pair of missed shots that could have evened the score when the Clippers had Indiana on the ropes. He pulled up for mid-range jumpers from the nearly same spot on the floor on two the Clippers’ final three possessions with the game on the line, both rimmed out.
“It’s a loss,” Paul said. “They didn’t care who was out or how healthy I was. But we put ourselves in a position to win the game. I had two great looks and I make one of those and it ties the game up and puts some pressure on them, but I didn’t.”
The main reason the Clippers had an opportunity to put pressure on Indiana was the play of their second unit. After the Clippers fell down by 14 points in the third quarter, the bench, led by 20 points from Jamal Crawford and eight points and five rebounds from former Pacer Darren Collison, rallied.
Crawford had 10 consecutive points in one stretch and Collison lobbed a half-court alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan and capped the turnaround with a breakaway dunk on a steal and diving lead pass by Crawford that tied the game at 94. The Clippers bench outscored the Pacers, 41-17, and had 26 of the Clippers’ final 32 points.
“We were just flying around everywhere, covering for each other,” Crawford said. “I think you get easy baskets and it ignites your team and ignites the crowd.”
The Clippers started the game 2-for-10 from the floor and Indiana All-Star Paul George scored nine of his game-high 27 points in the opening quarter. By the time, the second unit entered the game in full Indiana was up by nine. The group cut into the lead with six points from rookie Reggie Bullock in the second quarter. But a put-back by West, who had 24 points and 12 rebounds, at the first-half buzzer was the first of several plays that went against the Clippers. They missed shots they usually make, had two untimely turnovers in the fourth quarter and were whistled for a tough foul call on a 3-pointer by George Hill with 3:04 left that extended Indiana’s lead from one to four after Hill made all three foul shots.
“There were some unfortunate bounces, some unfortunate calls and [if not] it’s a different game,” Griffin said. “I thought we missed a few shots early and let that affect us and we didn’t do a good job team-wise defensively.”
The Clippers were outrebounded 50-41… After scoring just 22 points in the first quarter, they had at least 25 in each of the final three quarters against the league’s stingiest scoring defense… Jordan had 11 points and 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double… Crawford has 51 points in two games… Bullock finished with a career-high 10 points… The Clippers outscored the Pacers, 46-40, in the paint and 12-2 in transition… The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Clippers.
- Clippers Highlights vs PacersThe Clippers top plays vs the Pacers
- Paul feeds GriffinChris Paul finds Blake Griffin for the one-handed jam.
- Jordan JamChris Paul throws the alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan for the vicious slam.
- Pauls' And-oneChris Paul draws the foul and gets the double-clutch jumper to fall.
- Griffin's Steal and DimeBlake Griffin picks the pass and makes an outstanding behind-the-back pass to Reggie Bullock for the finish.
- Hollins on Both EndsRyan Hollins denies Luis Scola at the rim and is rewarded on the other end by Jamal Crawford for the big right-hand slam.
- Paul Sets up JordanChris Paul knifes through the lane and sets up DeAndre Jordan for the alley-oop slam.
- Thankful For...The Clippers share their fondest Thanksgiving memories, and what they're thankful for.
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CROWN ROYAL SHOT OF THE GAME
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on allowing offensive rebound on missed free throw by Lance Stephenson:
“I thought that they kind of rode us up under the basket and the ball was a little long. Then it got deflected out. It still went to the guy, it wouldn’t have mattered who we had in on that. The rebound before that was the one that really hurt us.”
Clippers guard Chris Paul on the team’s mindset:
“We just got off to a slow start. That happens on a Monday, doesn’t matter what day it is. We didn’t start running till late and then we finally started to get some stops. Their team [Pacers] is very methodical. You know what they are going to do; they are going to punch the ball inside or going to go to Paul George. Earlier, I felt like we were taking the ball out of the net and really couldn’t run like we wanted to.”
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on his overall impression of the game:
“It was a hard fought game; play here, play there, good change in complexion of the game. We got off to slow start for whatever reason in the first quarter then we got it going in the second quarter. In the third quarter we started a little bit slow and got it going in the fourth. They’re a good team.”
Pacers forward Paul George on growing up a Clippers fan:
“It was a fun team. My whole family, everybody that I grew up around and grew up with, were all Lakers fans. I was a huge Kobe [Bryant] fan growing up. That was my favorite player. But the Clippers were just a fun team. They were the underdog, and I was into the fun, up-tempo type of basketball.”
By: Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen