December Coverage of The Clippers vs Toronto, Portland and San Antonio
December 11th- The LA Clippers have had a rough patch lately. They played the best team in the NBA so far this year- The Toronto Raptors on Dec 11th but got blown out despite the visitors playing without their best player Kawai Leonard. The Clippers had to play without Lou Williams who is injured and that is a big loss. With Galinari and Harris having off nights, they were in trouble. Boban eas their only offense but he came in when it was too late in the 4th quarter. Toronto had a balanced attack with Kyle Lowry (21 points), Ibaka (25 points) and Valanciunas (16 points) too tough building a 20 + point lead and never looking back. Even without Leonard, LA was no match as their offense stalled. Final was 123-99 in this blowout. The game was so lopsided that Bobi Marjanovich was their leading scorer with 18 points but all came pretty much in the 4th quarter. Coach Rivers said “the team had no energy and didn’t play well. We gave in to their offensive pressure and they played downhill the entire night. We can give all the excuses like we played an overtime game last night and maybe the first group played too many minutes the night before so that was part of the problem. They played fast and they smelled blood in the water. We got down by 40 points and the only positive was our second unit got us back in the game in the second quarter but then it went down again. ”
December 17th game vs Portland as they are on stretch now facing 8 straight playoff teams. The Blazers were led by Damien Lollards and CJ Mcullom. The visitors took an early lead but LA came back to take the lead before Portland took control in the third quarter and then Lillard caught fire and ended with 39 points while CJ McCollum had 27 to lead the visitors. Portland seemed to have an easy victory but had many turnovers late in the game to keep LA close but in the end, the Blazers pulled it out 131-127. Tobias Harris was red hot with a career high 39 points and 11 rebounds while Gallinari had 22 and rookie guard Alexander had 24. Harrell got thrown out with a flagrant foul 2 in the 3rd quarter which really hurt. Coach Rivers spoke after the game and said, “ We shot over 50% and lost for the second game in a row. We miss Lou’s playmaking more than we miss his scoring. Ty played very well tonight. Every game is important in the West this year. The West is hard but we are in a great place.”
Dec. 29th vs San Antonio was another bump in the road. Even with the Clippers at full strength, they were really never in this game. They had nobody that could stop or match up with LaMarcus Aldridge who controlled the paint and scored at will ending with 38 points while DeRozen had 25 points and 12 rebounds. Aldridge was either too quick for Bobi or Gortat or too big for Harrell. The Spurs played a great team game while the Clippers had too much one on one and their shots were not falling. They can blame the back to back games as they played the Lakers the night before and came out victorious but the Spurs also played the night before. Gallinari and Harrell led the team with 21 points each. Final was 122-111. Coach Rivers said “We didn’t play the entire game and were far more physical than us. Aldridge destroyed all of our bigs but give them credit as they played very hard. I didn’t like the matchup tonight with Bobi was a very tough cover for him.”
The next game is vs. the Sixers on Jan. 1st as LA is right in the middle of the standings with a 21-15 record.