Game #21 | December 7, 2013
Quicken Loans Arena | Cleveland, OH

  • 88

  • 82

- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS STEALS BLOCKS
19 13 15 3 4
COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

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17

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82

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29

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88


RECAP

CLEVELAND – Long before Jarrett Jack knocked down a long 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer, the Clippers looked flustered and frustrated.

They shot a season-low 32.2 percent and never found an offensive stride at Quicken Loans Arena Saturday night, and lost to the Cavaliers, 88-82.

It was the third loss in four games for the Clippers (13-7) and the second on their seven-game road trip.

“We’ve got to play ball,” Chris Paul said after the game. “We’ve got to stay together. This road trip just started for us. We’re 1-2 right now and it’s not going to get any easier.”

The glut of road games continues with four stops next week and they lost Reggie Bullock to a sprained left ankle, the third wing player to go down in the last two weeks, and DeAndre Jordan to a strained right arch. J.J. Redick (wrist/hand) and Matt Barnes (eye) are not with the team on the trip.

Saturday was not about injured players or merely losing for a second time in four nights. The Clippers were bogged down on offense and were unrecognizable at times.

“I thought the whole game we looked [out of sorts],” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought there was a lot of pouting in the game, today, personally. You can’t play that way. You’ve got to keep playing. I always call them ‘emotional highjacks’ and I thought we had a lot of that going on today. You’ve got to be able to pull yourself out of it individually or as a group and we didn’t do a good job of that.”

While Paul scored 13 points with 15 assists, seven rebounds and three steals and DeAndre Jordan, who left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return, added 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots, the team struggled to score the ball for the duration of the night. 

“We shot terrible,” Blake Griffin said. “D.J. was the only one that shot the ball at a decent percentage. I was bad. I’ve got to be better.”

Griffin scored 10 points with 10 rebounds, but Cleveland (7-13) outrebounded the Clippers, 60-45, in large part because Griffin, Paul, Jamal Crawford and Willie Green combined to go 16-for-59 (27.1 percent) from the field. The team also missed 28 of their 35 3-pointers. 

“We didn’t move the ball,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said of the offense. “And give [Cleveland] credit. I thought they trapped Chris aggressively. On all the pick and rolls they showed pretty well. I didn’t think we handled that well.”

The Clippers scored just three points in the first 8:54 of the third quarter and even after Darren Collison and Crawford, who had a team-high 19 points, hit consecutive 3-pointers to give L.A. a two-point lead in the final seconds of the period, it was gone seconds later when Jack heaved in a 3-pointer from half court.

“Those are tough plays to try and give up, especially when the home crowd gets into it,” Crawford said of Jack’s shot. “There was no excuse. We were up and then went down by one into the fourth.”

The Cavaliers never looked back. They scored the first six points of the fourth quarter and effectively controlled the remainder of the game as the Clippers’ injuries and misses piled up.

Bullock was lost at the 9:29 mark as he came down awkwardly on a defensive rebound attempt and less than two minutes later Jordan landed awkwardly trying to tip out an offensive rebound. He limped to the sideline and did not return. Bullock had to be helped off the floor by trainer Jasen Powell and injured guard Maalik Wayns.

“There were times [we had momentum], in the third quarter I think it was,” Griffin said. “We just weren’t able to keep it long. We’d get within one or have a lead and they’d hit some big shots or we’d make some crucial mistakes. It’s kind of one of those games where I felt we were ever in control.”

Still, they held the Cavaliers to 37.3 percent shooting and somehow pulled to within a possession of the lead. Crawford made a 3-pointer with 26 seconds to go to make it 85-82, but after Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters missed his second of two free throws on the other end, the Cavaliers fittingly tracked down the offensive rebound and Kyrie Irving made two more free throws after an intentional foul that sealed things for Cleveland.

Irving scored 20 points a night after going scoreless for the first time in his career and Anderson Varejao grabbed 17 boards in 22:41.

Asked if losing a game to a team that entered the night seven games under .500 surprised him, Rivers said, “I don’t think anything takes me by surprise. It’s just another game and we’ve got to keep grinding through it until we find our stride. We have not found our stride this year yet. But our record’s not bad for a team that hasn’t found their stride. That’s the way you’ve got to look at it.”

NOTES

Crawford went 7-for-7 from the foul line, extending his streak of consecutive free throws to a season-high of 32. He set the franchise record a year ago with 58 straight free throws made… It is the first time the Clippers have lost while holding an opponent below 42 percent shooting in more than two seasons… Antawn Jamison scored one point, moving within five points of 20,000 for his career… Green’s 11 points were a personal season high… It is the second time in a row the Clippers have lost when Paul, Griffin and Jordan all had double-doubles in the same game…

VIDEO

QUOTES

Doc Rivers Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on the team’s mentality:
“When we become a good team, and if we become a good team, it will be because we miss three shots in a row and you wouldn’t know it. You just keep playing. You get some bad calls on  you and you just keep playing. Right now, we’re not at that point.”
  Clippers guard Chris Paul on what the team needs to do moving forward:
“We’ve got to fix it. We’re going to try and make it as quick as possible.”
 
Clippers forward Blake Griffin on the team maintaining composure and playing through poor shooting games:
“That’s when it’s the toughest when you’re not shooting well, when you’re down most of the game. That’s the test, when can you conquer that step or that milestone that when you’re playing terrible and the other team’s playing well and your body language is like you’re up 10.”
  Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on where the team lost the game:
“Defensively, we only gave up 88 and we gave up 29 of those in the first quarter, so we were pretty solid defensively. Tonight, I think everybody pretty much couldn’t make a shot, top to bottom. It’s tough to win like that, even if you play good defense.”
  Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown on the game:
“I thought it was a good physical game. I thought our guys brought their hard hats tonight. We responded the way we were supposed to defensively from the outset. That’s a good Clippers team averaging well over 100 points, shooting the ball very well. Obviously they got some looks that they probably normally knock down but I thought our guys tried to play the game the right way.”

PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten



CLEVELAND – The road trip goes on and Saturday night it’s all about extending the bounce back.

After stumbling through the trip’s opener in Atlanta, the Clippers responded with a resounding second half in Memphis Thursday and won by 20 points. But point guard Chris Paul wants to see the team continue the momentum from Thursday’s victory two nights later against the host Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

“It’s one game,” Paul said. “It will be really good to see how we respond in Cleveland.”

How they respond may be predicated on defense. When the Clippers (13-7) have held an opponent to 42.0 percent shooting or worse, they are unbeaten. They’ve done so six times this season, including five times in their last nine games. They are 6-3 in that stretch, including beating Memphis 101-81 to split the first two games of their seven-game road trip.

Cleveland (6-13) has been in a swoon of late. They lost by 19 Friday in Atlanta and return home for night two of their sixth back-to-back of the season. All six of the back-to-backs have come on Friday and Saturday nights, with their only three victories coming in the Saturday game.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Chris Paul vs. Kyrie Irving


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Of all the career projections, in terms of body type and all-around ability that may be most similar to Paul, the most comparable might be Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving. Paul is a two-time Olympian, Irving, who starred at the Team USA minicamp this summer, is a shoe-in for the Olympics in Brazil. They are former rookies of the year. Paul was an All-Star by his third season. Irving was in his second. Irving’s a little taller, Paul’s a little stronger, but they both epitomize the delicate balance between scoring and making plays for others.

Despite Cleveland’s early-season struggles, Irving is averaging 20.8 points, 5.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds; although he went scoreless in 20 minutes against the Hawks on Friday night, shooting 0-for-9 from the field. Paul, on the other hand, 18.7 points, 11.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds. Strangely, Saturday will be just the second time they have faced each other (third if you count the 2013 All-Star game). Irving has been injured both times Paul visited Cleveland and the Clippers only played the Cavaliers once in the lockout-shortened season (Irving’s rookie year). Irving won the head-to-head matchup and the game in their one meeting (Nov. 5, 2012 at Staples Center). This time, Paul will look to return the favor on Irving’s home court.

THINGS TO WATCH

1. 20,000-point man. Clippers forward Antawn Jamison, who also spent two-plus seasons with the Cavaliers, is six points away from becoming the ninth active player with 20,000 career points. He also is on the verge of becoming the 20th player in NBA history with at least 20,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. Effectively, every one of the other 19 players either will be or already are Hall of Famers. He has already eclipsed the rebound and assist totals and needs only the six points to achieve those lofty numbers.  

2. Third quarter. The Cavaliers have been outscored on average in every quarter this season, but they score their fewest number of points in the third quarter (22.4 per game). That’s precisely when the Clippers have been at their best. They own the league’s third best scoring margin in the third, including beating Memphis 24-11 in the period Thursday. The second half, in general, has been a springboard for the Clippers. They have come back to win four times when trailing at halftime, including twice on the road.

3. Benches. Cleveland and the Clippers both have top 11 scoring benches, but they are used in different ways. Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown, who had been patching together a variety of starting and reserve units has settled on a rotation, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Jarrett Jack, Dion Waiters, Earl Clark, Anderson Varejao and rookie Anthony Bennett are used as somewhat of a hockey line change at times.

Rivers has been more apt to plug in starters with the bench, but in the last six games, the five-man reserve group has been a force. They are outscoring opponents by an average of 20.0 points per game and have helped, rather than hindered, L.A. in going 4-2 in that stretch. On Thursday, Jamison scored 11 points, matching his season high. Afterwards he talked about the chemistry he has with Jamal Crawford, who is the league’s second-leading scorer off the bench, and what it does for the unit as a whole.

“I was able to get involved with Jamal,” Jamison said. “He did a great job as far really stretching out my man and I created space and just took my time.

“We know that if we get to where we want to get to it will be something special. Not just for us two, but for everybody. It creates shots for [Darren Collison]. There are easy opportunities for [Ryan] Hollins rolling down the middle and you see Reggie [Bullock] got some open looks as well.”

NOTES

The Clippers have only defeated the Cavaliers twice in the last 14 tries, including just one win in Cleveland. They never won in Cleveland during the LeBron James era and have lost two of three there since he left for Miami… Byron Mullens, who is from Canal Winchester which is about three hours outside of Cleveland, is expecting to have upwards of 25 friends and family members at the game… Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum, who was limited earlier in the year in back-to-back scenarios, is expected to play Saturday despite topping 25 minutes on Friday in Atlanta… In their last two losses, the Cavaliers have been outscored 65-30 in the first quarter… The Clippers are 5-5 on the road. They did not lose a fifth road game until Jan. 2 last season…

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE

Clippers Leaders:
Pts: 3 Players Tied 15
Ast: Paul 8
Reb: Jordan 14

Last Time Out


101


81


CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Cavaliers Leaders:
Pts: Waiters 30
Reb: Bynum 13
Ast: Irving/Dellavedova/Varejao 4

BOX SCORE »


89


108