Five Takeaways: Clippers Drop Sixth Straight, 114-88 In OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Clippers (22-14) are ready to turn the page to 2017, as a stretch of seven games in 10 days ended Saturday night on New Year’s Eve against the Thunder (21-13) with their worst defeat of the season.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 114-88 loss.
1) Fifth straight new lineup – J.J. Redick played for the second straight game after his return from a sore hamstring, but the Clippers were still without Chris Paul (hamstring strain), who sat out for the second straight night and the fifth time in the Clippers’ last six games. Wesley Johnson was able to play a night after spraining his ankle, but the Clippers’ starting lineup changed for the fifth straight game, as they continue to find the right combinations with both Paul and Blake Griffin (knee procedure) out. Paul Pierce earned the start after not playing either of the Clippers’ previous two games, joining Austin Rivers, Redick, DeAndre Jordan and Luc Mbah a Moute in the starting lineup.
2) Losing streak reaches six – Entering the night, the Clippers were already in the midst of their first five-game losing streak of head coach Doc Rivers’ tenure and their first since February 2011. The skid continued Saturday, as the Clippers now enter the New Year on their first six-game losing streak since February 2010, dropping two spots in the standings to No. 6 in the West with the loss.
3) Over early – The Clippers couldn’t generate any offense early, starting 2-for-15 from floor and 0-for-6 from 3 and trailing by double digits after the first quarter for the second straight night, at which point they were 0-for-9 from long distance. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City shot 61.4 percent from the floor in the first half, at which point Russell Westbrook already compiled a triple-double. To make matters worse, the half ended on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the Thunder’s Alex Abrines, who had four on the night before leaving with concussion-like symptoms.
4) No transition – Multiple times, head coach Doc Rivers had to yell to his team to push the ball up the floor instead of walking it up. Transition defense and pace have been problems during the Clippers’ losing streak, particularly with Paul out. In their previous five games entering the night, no team was allowing more fast-break points than the Clippers, and it got worse in that regard Saturday, with the Clippers getting outscored 25-0 on fast break points in the first half and 33-0 by game’s end.
5) Bass boost – One of the lone offensive bright spots for the Clippers was Brandon Bass, who already had a season-high 14 points in just nine minutes by halftime, mostly on dunks. Bass routinely found ways to get open under the basket, as Bass and Marreese Speights both led the Clippers with 18 points apiece off the bench. In addition, Jamal Crawford tallied his 4,000th career assist and finished with five assists on the night.
What’s Next? – The Clippers’ first game in 2017 comes Tuesday, hosting the Suns.