LA Clippers Coverage of 3 games in early-mid January vs Miami, Dallas and Philadelphia at Crytpo.com arena.
The LA Clippers have been struggling lately even at home as they took on the Miami Heat. Kawhi Leonard came down ill last minute non-Covid related and had to sit out the game so they were shorthanded and the Heat took advantage. Bam Adebayo had a monster game dominating with 31 points and 13 rebounds as the home Clippers tried to keep it close but lost in the end 110-100.
There seems to be a lack of team chemistry and LA is underachieving this year despite having most their players around this season. They have not been able to play together in a full manner, which shows a lack of consistency and camaraderie. Their team is very deep but the players have been inconsistent and yes some injuries but most teams have injuries. LA is definitely lacking some toughness and depth from power forward and back up center. They have tried to go smaller but teams have taken advantage of their lack of rebounding and defense. Paul George led by the way with 25 points but was 7-16 and. I had a chat with Jerry West and in agreement with him that the team needs more consistency at point guard, less turnovers and better shot selection. Miami is also underachieving as they reached the finals two years ago and are hoping to make a surge to get in the eastern playoff hunt. They need more consistent play from their leader Jimmy Butler who had an average game with Tyler Herro has emerged as a legitimate scorer and had 23 points. Victor Olidipo had a nice contribution with 15 points. The only other Clippers in double figures were Morris Sr with 14, Kennard with 11 and Zubac with 10 pts.
The next game the following week was versus Dallas as LA came out more fired up with more energy. George was still out but overall the team played great with Kawhi Leonard leading away with 33 points and they got other key contributions from Terrence Mann & Marcus Morris each scoring 12 pts and Norman Powell getting 27 points off the bench. The team was missing Luke Kennard who was out nursing a calf injury and they withheld the strong performance by The Mavericks Luka Dončić scored 43 points. However in the end the Clippers were too much as they had more balance scoring than the Mavericks who didn’t play well except for Luka. The final score was and more at 113-101. LA played a great overall game and hope to continue this type as the season continues towards the playoffs.
The following week, the Philadelphia Sixers came to town for this big matchup with MVP candidate Joel Embiid leading the way. Paul George came back to play after five game absence but didn’t play well. Kawhi Leonard lead the team of 27 points but they looked rattled, inconsistent, and had a lack of chemistry. They are definitely missing Luke Kennard, who is one of the best shooters in the league as he’s been out with a calf injury. The Sixers took control the second quarter going up by double digits only to have the Clippers stormed back in the third quarter and actually take the lead. But then Philadelphia went on a big run and the Clippers went cold. Tyrese Maxey keyed the run with some clutch outside shots and be dominated as he ended up with 22 points & Tobias Harris also made a big contribution with 20 points. A big disappointment for Philadelphia was James Harden, who had a lackluster game with 6 points and looked out of it. George Naing went 3-4 on 3 point shots in the second half and PJ Tucker played some great defense vs Leonard. It’s one thing to beat average teams or the Clippers who are not playing well at this time, but Philly will definitely need Harden’s contribution if they’re going to go far in the Eastern conference playoffs. As for the Clippers, they’re going to have to make some big adjustments soon as there’s no more excuses or injury complaints. They need to stop turning the ball over so much, take better shots, rebound and play better defense.
More at www.nba.com/clippers