GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. CAVALIERS - 12/7/13
Game #21 | December 7, 2013
Quicken Loans Arena | Cleveland, OH
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.”
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…
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|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.”
By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten