The LA Clippers dropped their 6th straight game, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 109-105.
Well, that one was fun.
In a game that featured lead changes, flaring tempers, and free chicken sandwiches, the Philadelphia 76ers came into Staples Center and got their first win vs. the Clippers on the road since March 16th, 2011.
Joel Embiid was the difference maker. The second-year player dropped 32 points, as well as a career high 16 rebounds. Robert Covington added 32 of his own, impressively on only 12 shot attempts. Ben Simmons, who at this point looks like the favorite for Rookie of the Year, tallied 22 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists.
For the Clippers, the only two silver linings were Blake Griffin and Lou Williams. Griffin finished with 29 points, however, it did come on 25 shot attempts. Williams played 38 minutes off the bench, a team-high, and had his second 30-point performance in a row.
The First Half
The Clippers just didn’t seem to have it early. They weren’t moving the ball around, and they were settling for too many jumpers. They had no answer for Joel Embiid, who had 11 points in just the first quarter. A near 30-foot three by Embiid had the Clippers down 11 in the first.
Things looked just as bad, if not worse, in the second quarter. The Clippers found themselves down 14, and just couldn’t seem to get into any sort of rhythm. For a four minute stretch, LA just couldn’t buy a basket. That’s when Blake Griffin decided to take things into his own hands.
Griffin dropped 12 points in just over three minutes, helping cut the deficit to five points. Wesley Johnson and Lou Williams added to the cause, cutting the Sixers’ lead to only two points going into the half.
The Second Half
The Clippers came out of the locker room sloppy, and quickly fell behind nine points. Just like the first half though, the Clippers rallied back. They went on a 14-2 run, and it appeared that they once again had life in them. The rest of the quarter was back-and-forth, with the Clippers taking a two-point lead after a Sam Dekker tip shot to end the quarter.
As if the third quarter wasn’t hectic enough, the fourth quarter featured many more lead changes. Lou Williams was feeling it in the fourth. A three-pointer made with 5:37 left in the game, gave the Clippers a six-point lead, and Williams 12 points already in the quarter. Williams would finish with 15 points in the fourth.
However, the Sixers answered right back. Ben Simmons knocked down a shot, followed by a Robert Covington three, giving the Clippers a one-point lead. Sweet Lou (as Ralph Lawler likes to call him) knocked down another three, his fifth of the game, giving the Clippers a four-point lead with three minutes remaining.
Once again, the Clippers were able to extend the lead. A pair of Austin Rivers free-throws extended it to five with just two minutes remaining, giving them a 100-95.
Lawlers law, on Ralph Lawler sock night. How perfect, right?
Well, the Sixers weren’t as welcoming and decided to break the law.
In a quiet return to Staples Center, former Clipper J.J. Redick knocked down his first three of the night, cutting the lead back to two. After missing his first six attempts on the evening, Redick sure picked a good time to connect on his first.
Earlier in the game, the Clippers welcomed Redick back with a touching tribute.
The following Clippers possession resulted in a 26-foot Blake Griffin step back jumper, not the best possible shot LA could have gotten. Philly then tied the game up on an easy Embiid layup, beautifully assisted by Simmons.
All tied at 100.
On the next drive, Willie Reed would be fouled by Embiid, but only connected on one of his free-throws. Robert Covington, who had a career-high 31 points, knocked a three down, his fifth of the night, giving the Sixers a two point lead.
Lou Williams, who played hero all night, didn’t have any magic left, as his potential go-ahead three with 20 seconds left rattled out.
After two made Simmons free-throws, Austin Rivers knocked down a corner-three, cutting the lead to one. But with ten seconds and no timeouts, the Clippers just didn’t have enough to overcome the adversity, and ended up walking away with the 109-105 loss.
The 76ers, who move to 7-6 on the season, are not the Sixers of old. They’re young, and they’re good. As mentioned in the broadcast, they lead the NBA in passes per game, and it showed. The way they moved the ball was beautiful, and it showed in the stat book. Philadelphia finished with 27 assists, as opposed to the Clippers’ merely 16. The Clippers, who rank third to last in the NBA in assists, are desperately missing the magic of Milos Teodosic.
The three-ball was working for the Clippers, as they made 12 on the night. But lack of rebounding and points in the paint is what killed it for them. The Sixers out rebounded LA by 17, and had 12 more points in the paint. DeAndre Jordan finished the game with only five rebounds, and two points on two shot-attempts.
The Sixers fought hard and earned this win. As mentioned, this isn’t the same team we’ve seen the last five years. The Clippers fought hard and came back multiple times, but ultimately just couldn’t get the job done.
The Clippers now fall to 5-8 on the season, and have lost six in a row, including eight of their last nine. It’s evident that this team needs to get healthy, and fast.
The Clippers begin a five-game road trip this upcoming Friday, where they’ll take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.