Five Takeaways: Clippers Drop Second Straight, 91-70, To Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS – Rare turnovers plagued the Clippers early, as they suffered their worst loss of the year, 91-70, Sunday night to the Pacers (9-9).
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ loss, which dropped them to 14-4 on the year.
1) Forgettable night – The opening possession, with a turnover leading to a transition dunk for the Pacers, was a sign of things to come Sunday for the Clippers, who suffered their worst loss of the season despite playing an Indiana team missing its superstar in Paul George. With their second straight loss, it’s the first losing streak of the season for the Clippers, who couldn’t get anything going at either end, trailing by three points after the first quarter, 10 after the second and 18 after the third. While they’ve had nights where their shots aren’t falling, or they’ve had a few atypical turnovers, or they’ve struggled to defend or hit the glass, it’s never been all four the way it was Sunday, turning the ball over a season-high 20 times, getting outrebounded by 12 and surrendering good looks inside.
2) Early turnovers – Turnovers against any team would be a problem, but particularly so against a Pacers team scoring more points off turnovers this season than any team in the league. Within the first few minutes, the Clippers had three turnovers become six points the other way. By the end of the first quarter, the Clippers committed 11 turnovers. It was out of character for a team that doesn’t commit them often. Entering Sunday night, the Clippers had 11 turnovers or fewer in more than half of their games. The uncharacteristic play continued early in the second quarter, with 13 turnovers in the first 14 minutes. Their previous high in turnovers for a half this season was 10 in their loss to Oklahoma City.
3) Settling outside – The Clippers missed plenty of good looks, but the majority of them came from jump shots on the outside. Head coach Doc Rivers said he thought the Clippers settled offensively, counting only five times in the first half they drove into the paint. Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 16 points, but that’s also how many points the Clippers scored in the paint, to the Pacers’ 42. The Clippers shot 31.4 percent from the field and made 22 shots after coming in averaging 38.8 per game.
4) Help at the line – DeAndre Jordan started 3-for-4 from the free-throw line, and a Clippers team that entered with more made free throws and more attempted free throws than any team in the league stayed close early on by getting to the line. They were still within striking distance, despite the turnovers, at the end of the first quarter, trailing by just three points at the time and starting 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. They finished the night 22-for-27 from the line.
5) Glass woes – Head coach Doc Rivers said before the night when a team’s playing physically the way it should, it’s typically visible on the defensive first. When it’s not, the same applies, and the Pacers’ offensive rebounding numbers tell the story. Indiana found its way into the lane, and when the Pacers missed, they too often got another chance, with 13 of their 52 rebounds coming on the offensive end. Myles Turner’s range also provided problems, with the young Pacers center posting 13 points and seven rebounds in the first half, with four of his six buckets coming on long jumpers.
What’s Next? – The Clippers play Tuesday at Brooklyn.