Five Takeaways: Bigs Feast

by Caden Kinard

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers led comfortably for most of the game, winning 116-102 over Cleveland, behind a 20-point, 23-rebound game from center DeAndre Jordan.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win.

1) Bigs feast —

Taking off a step from inside the free throw line, DeAndre Jordan jumped skywards, ball extended in his right hand, then absorbed a push from George Hill, double-clutched, and dunked, sending the STAPLES Center crowd into a frenzy. It was maybe the dunk of the year for the Clippers, and the viral moment capturing Jordan’s incredible night. He finished with 20 points and 23 rebounds, including 7 offensive rebounds. It was his 11th 20-rebound game of the season, two short of his season high. In his last four games, Jordan has averaged 16.5 points and 19.5 rebounds.

Without Tristian Thompson and and Kevin Love, the Cavaliers were short on big men, and the Clippers took advantage. Montrezl Harrell scored 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, making it eight straight games scoring double figures, the longest streak of his career. Boban Marjanovic played the second most minutes of his Clippers career, scoring 6 points and grabbing 3 rebounds.

The Clippers outscored the Cavaliers 58-42 in the paint.

2) Starting differently —

For the 31st time this season, the Clippers began the game with a different starting lineup. Tonight, it was Lou Williams, Austin Rivers and Sindarius Thornwell starting in the backcourt. In the frontcourt, DeAndre Jordan and Tobias Harris. The unit played together for the first eight minutes of the game, and led 21-13 before the first sub checked in. With Super Sub Lou Williams starting, it was Milos Teodosic as the first Clipper off the bench, with Montrezl Harrell coming in a few minutes later. By the end of the first with the new lineup, the Clippers led 35-17.

3) Sin city —

For the first time since December, Thornwell started. Slotting in at the small forward spot, he guarded LeBron James in his eighth career start, a daunting task. But the rookie responded with the best game of his NBA career, scoring a career-high 14 points, with 11 of them coming in the first quarter, the most of any quarter in his career.

4) Cavaliers third quarter run not enough —

Down by as much as 19, the Cavaliers made a push in the third, closing the Clippers lead to four behind a James assault. However, they struggled to find any rhythm. Rodney Hood never returned to the game after sustaining a low back strain. As a team, they shot 47 percent from the field, and 35 percent from three, making 12-of-34. James scored a team-high 25 points, to go along with 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Larry Nance secured his 10th double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson added 21 points off the bench.

5) Spreading it around —

Six different Clippers scored in double figures tonight. Tobias Harris scored a team-high 23 points, making five three-pointers, including a fortuitous bank, prompting Harris to shrug his shoulders to an applauding Clipper crowd. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers combined for 30 points and 13 assists. As a whole, the Clippers assisted on 25 of their 43 made baskets.

What’s Next? — The Clippers play Orlando on Saturday night at 7:30 PST, on the second night of a back-to-back.

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