Five Takeaways: Clippers’ Three Game Streak Snapped in Road Loss to 76ers
PHILADELPHIA — On the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers played from behind nearly the entire game, falling to Philadelphia, 112-98.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ loss:
1) Williams remains remarkably consistent —
For the 22nd time in the last 24 games, Lou Williams scored 20 points or more, finishing tonight’s game with 23 points. The newest star in LA kept the Clippers within striking distance for most of the game. When Philadelphia blitzed the Clippers in the first quarter, Williams scored 10 in the period, his 14th time doing so this season. When the Clippers made a late run, Williams orchestrated the offense. To add to his scoring, Williams dished a team-high 6 assists, his 28th time leading the team in assists this year.
Since returning from injury, Danilo Gallinari has established himself as another go-to scorer for the Clippers. Tonight, the forward had 22 points on only 15 shots. In his five games since coming back from injury, Gallinari is averaging 21.0 points on about 13 shots.
2) Clippers have opportunity late —
For all but two minutes of the first quarter, the Sixers led. Their largest lead reached 16 points, but LA methodically closed the gap, never breaking off a huge run, but beating the Sixers over extended stretches. By the fourth quarter, the Clippers were down only seven.
Over the final period, the Clippers brought the game within two points, resulting in a Philadelphia timeout with about four minutes remaining. Out of the break, the Sixers sprinted out to a 7-0 run in 37 seconds, essentially ending any chance to win for the Clippers. Former Clipper J.J. Redick hit two crucial three-pointers late. He finished with 17 points, using five three-pointers to get there.
3) Philly special in the first quarter —
Midway through the first quarter, the Clippers led by six. At that moment, the Sixers had scored only 10 points. Their offense was struggling and the Clippers' defense was everywhere. Then, the Sixers offense turned unstoppable, as they went on to make their next nine shots, and finished the quarter making 10 of their last 11. They closed the quarter with 37 points, opposed to the Clippers' 28, with six made three-pointers. Joel Embiid posted a team-high 9 points in the opening frame.
Embiid continued his dominance throughout the night, ending with 29 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks. Ben Simmons contributed a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists. Off the bench, the Clippers couldn’t contain Justin Anderson and T.J. McConnell, as the two combined for 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
4) Bradley providing value beyond scoring —
Avery Bradley was the only starter to have a positive plus/minus (+5), meaning the Clippers outscored the Sixers when he was on the floor. A cursory glance at the box score revealed he only scored 4 points, but he also recorded 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. The shooting guard has struggled to find his shot since joining the team, however, his effort has spread among whoever he’s sharing the floor with, producing a winning style of play.
5) Playoff look-in —
The Western Conference battle for seeding in the playoffs will be a major topic of discussion as the regular season finish-line slowly approaches. With the loss to Philadelphia, the Clippers have played 54 games, with 28 games remaining. At 28-26, they sit tied for the eighth seed with the Denver Nuggets, and well within distance of the three teams ahead of them in the standings. The fifth seeded Portland Trail Blazers are only 1.5 games ahead of LA in the standings.
Scheduled on the Clippers' horizon is perhaps their toughest stretch of the year. Of their 28 remaining games, the Clippers will play 10 Western Conference opponents that reside in playoff position, and seven Eastern Conference foes set for the postseason.
What’s Next? — The Clippers get Sunday off before facing the Nets (19-38) in Brooklyn on Monday at 4:30 PST.