Five Takeaways: Clippers Fall To Pacers In Return Home, 111-102
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers returned home off a six-game road trip with their 21st game in a 36-day stretch coming up.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 111-102 loss.
1) Seventh road game? – The Clippers returned home off a six-game road trip with their 22nd game in the last 36 days coming up. With only a day of rest after returning from that trip, head coach Doc Rivers said before tipping off with the Pacers that the Clippers consider the matchup the seventh game of the trip. “Just the time zone and getting yourself back into the right mental space and all that,” Rivers said. The Clippers avoided any potential lapses from the recent stretch early on, jumping out to a 15-point first quarter lead, but there were signs of problems with seven turnovers in the quarter. Then, things got worse.
2) Unlucky No. 20 – The Clippers only finished a game with more turnovers than assists once before Sunday night. The same team did it to them again. After recording 11 assists and 20 turnovers against the Pacers in Indiana, it was the Pacers again forcing another 20 turnovers, this time back in L.A. A 33-point fourth quarter gave the Clippers a chance late, but turnovers hurt their efforts trying to gnaw their way back from a second-half deficit.
3) Defense downhill after one – The Clippers led, 28-17, at the end of the first, before letting the Pacers score 31 points in the second quarter and 35 in a third quarter in which the Pacers shot 61.9 percent and held the Clippers to 17 points. Indiana went on a 14-4 run in the second quarter, then sprinted ahead in the third with a 19-2 run. “The first six minutes in the third quarter destroyed us,” Rivers said. The Clippers cut a 14-point Indiana lead down to four with a minute left in the game, with DeAndre Jordan’s work on the glass providing a jolt, but a Paul George corner 3-pointer was the dagger off a busted play with a minute left. Five of Jordan’s 15 rebounds came in the fourth quarter, and Chris Paul scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth in trying to mount the comeback.
4) Griffin engaged – Speaking of work on the glass, it was Blake Griffin leading the Clippers in that area with a season-high 16 rebounds. Griffin never lost his motor, even as the rest of the Clippers struggled to get involved in the middle quarters, finishing with 24 points and five assists to go with his 16 rebounds, giving him his first 15-15 game since December 2014. It also marked Griffin’s second straight double-double to start December.
5) Bench blunders – Four of the five Clippers’ starters ended the night plus-five or better. But even after Jamal Crawford helped his cause, on the floor as the Clippers mounted their fourth-quarter comeback attempt, still every Clippers backup that entered the game finished on the wrong side of the plus-minus department. The backups went 10-for-28 on the night, and it was in the second quarter with the reserves on the floor when the slide began, scoring just four points in the first four minutes of the second quarter. “They got a little frustrated because they did get good shots, they just didn’t fall,” Rivers said. Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles provided problems offensively off the bench for Indiana, with the duo combining for 28 points.
What’s Next? – The Clippers host the Warriors on Wednesday.