Five Takeaways: Clippers Destroy Cavaliers, 113-94, To Snap Losing Skid
CLEVELAND – The Clippers (15-5) ended a three-game losing skid in style, dismantling the defending champions in their own building severely enough that the starters for both teams watched the majority of the fourth quarter from the bench.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 113-94 win against the Cavaliers (13-4).
1) Griffin dishes, Cavs don’t – Blake Griffin posted his first points-assists double-double of the year, tying a career high with a team-high 11 assists to go 13 points. Griffin already totaled 10 points and nine assists before a minute had passed in the third quarter, with the Clippers finding him in mismatches off pick-and-rolls and Griffin finding his teammates once the defense collapsed, including a lob to DeAndre Jordan on an alley-oop and-1 finish. Until the final few minutes, Griffin had more assists than the entire Cavs team, with the Clippers forcing Cleveland into 18 turnovers and just 12 assists by game’s end. The ball moved all night for the Clippers, with Chris Paul adding nine assists to go with his 16 points and Austin Rivers adding seven assists, as the Clippers finished with 33 assists as a team.
2) Mbah a Moute smothers defensively – Luc Mbah a Moute may be the least recognized member of the starting five, but his calling card helped decide the result Thursday night. Mbah a Moute’s defense couldn’t be overlooked, as he racked up a career-high five steals while helping hold LeBron James to 5-for-14 shooting; and even those statistics don’t tell the full story of just how good he was defensively. Add on to that some of his crispest cuts to the rim this season resulting in six points, and his importance in the Clippers’ victory was impossible to ignore.
3) Jordan boardin’ – DeAndre Jordan said an uptick in energy needed to start with him as the Clippers attempted to get out of their recent skid, and he brought it. Jordan dominated the glass with 15 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Checking the rebounding numbers is one practical way to see what the Clippers’ effort was like in a game, and on this night, they outrebounded the Cavs by 11 and attacked, scoring 12 more points in the paint than the Cavs and kicking out for 13 3-pointers.
4) Clippers dominate second half – At the beginning of the year, the Clippers routinely ran away with games by getting hot in the second quarter, then extending that lead in the second half. That was the formula once again in digging out of their three-game losing streak, earning their first ever road win against a LeBron James-led team. “It was who we are,” head coach Doc Rivers said afterward.”I really believe that.” The Clippers got back to their dominant ways late in the first half, outscoring the Cavs by 12 in the second quarter, then by 12 again in the third, with the lead ballooning to more than 20 points. By halfway through the fourth quarter, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue pulled the plug, taking out his starters as the Clippers’ backups finished off the victory.
5) Redick’s quick start – It took the Clippers some time to get going early offensively, but J.J. Redick had it going all night. Redick made sure the Clippers stayed close early, scoring nine points in the first quarter, before finishing with a team-high 23 points on the night. On the Clippers’ way to a 34-point second quarter, it was Redick hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the first half to give the Clippers an eight-point lead heading to halftime, at which point Redick already totaled 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
What’s Next? – The Clippers finish their six-game road trip Friday at New Orleans.