The LA Clippers couldn’t get it done against what was supposed to be an inferior opponent in the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
A lot went wrong in the contest. There was some that went right, but obviously the bad outweighed the good in the end.
The Clippers lost the game 92-79, to drop to 1-3 on the season. It was clear as to who the winners and losers of the game were on the Clippers side.
Paul George may have struggled on offense, but he was brilliant defensively for the LA Clippers.
Paul George recorded four steals for the LA Clippers in the contest. He now has 16 steals on the season.
Winner: Paul George’s defense
Paul George came into the game averaging four steals per game after he posted his career-high in steals last game with eight. He was sure to regress to the mean, but instead established himself as an elite defender yet again with four steals.
The Clippers have many players who are considered strong individual defensive players. Eric Bledsoe is one of those guys too, as he has been an All-Defensive selection multiple times. Unfortunately, he didn’t bring it on offense.
Loser: Eric Bledsoe’s offense
Eric Bledsoe has had some nice moments this season, but he’s also had some duds. He really struggled offensively on Wednesday night.
Going two for seven from the field, he missed all three shots he took from downtown. He scored just six points on the night, dishing out just three assists. It’s a big part of why his +/- was the second-worst on the team tonight at -13.
Some LA Clippers who had been playing good basketball came back down to earth against the Cavs.
Luke Kennard went six for seven from beyond the arc in the LA Clippers’ most previous game, while hitting 8 of 10 shots from the field. He scored 23 points in just 24 minutes.
Loser: Luke Kennard’s momentum
It’s not just that Luke Kennard had a strong performance on Monday night. It’s that he had been the best shooter on the team this season.
Kennard entered the game leading the team in three-point percentage (56.3%), and shot 53.8% overall. Just two Clippers had a better field goal percentage, and they were the two centers on the team. They weren’t taking as many jump shots as Kennard had.
Kennard hadn’t missed a free throw either. That streak is still alive, as he didn’t take one on Wednesday night. However, he was just two of nine from the field and two of eight from three.
It’s not the Kennard NBA fans are used to seeing. He’s still of course a very good shooter; it’s just one game. However he’ll need to figure out how to rekindle that magic he had shown earlier after he broke his momentum with a lackluster performance.
The Clippers’ offense struggled in general, but could have actually been worse.
Winner: Clipper ball protection
The Clippers have done a good job taking care of the ball this season, and they won the turnover battle again on Wednesday.
They forced 20 turnovers, and turned it over just 14 times themselves. They have averaged the least amount of turnovers per game in the league this year (11.3), highlighting something they’ve been able to stay consistent at.
Consistency is going to be key for this Clipper team moving forward. They looked like a completely different team than the one we saw the first three games of the year. Now the team is two games under .500, and needs a big bounce-back performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.