Clippers continue slide as they fall to Nets, 110-96
The University of Clippers suffered a major blow to their NCAA chances on Monday night.
(Well, there always is strength of schedule.)
Kidding aside, when you present a starting lineup consisting of five players all still possessing NCAA eligibility, it’s always going to hold an element of peril and high risk.
The Clippers’ starters were two 20-year-olds (Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu) two 21-year-olds (Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon) and one “veteran,” 22-year-old DeAndre Jordan.
So this team might look terrific in March in the NCAA tournament, but this is, for better or worse, the NBA in the opening month.
And the Clippers (1-10) are off to their worst start in 12 seasons, bringing back bad memories of the 0-17 opening in that lockout-shortened campaign of 1998-99.
Loss No. 10 didn’t exactly come against an NBA heavyweight, as the Nets defeated the Clippers, 110-96, at Staples Center, lulling them into a slumber in the first half and rolling over them with a Brook Lopez onslaught in the second.
The Nets’ Lopez, subdued in the first half with just six points, finished with 24 in all and three blocked shots. Doing almost as much damage was Travis Outlaw, a Clipper for about 20 minutes late last season, who finished with 23 points, going nine for 14. Former Laker Jordan Farmar had 15 points off the bench.
The Clippers missed 10 free throws and were edged in the paint by the Nets, 42-36.
They wasted a 30-point performance from Gordon, a season high for the guard and the highest point total for a Clippers player this season.
Griffin had a somewhat subdued game and seemed flat even before he was grabbed and thrown down hard to the court by the Nets’ Devin Harris.
That was one of the rare breaks for the Clippers -- escaping an injury on a scary-looking play in the first half. Harris pulled down the fast-breaking Griffin and was assessed a flagrant foul two, an automatic ejection and $6,000 fine. It will also likely be reviewed by the NBA.
“I was glad I didn’t hit my head or anything like that,” Griffin said. “I kind of lay there for a second and did a mental check, just jarred my neck. Other than that, I was all right.”
Griffin had 11 points and a season-low three rebounds. Aminu and Bledsoe combined for 29 points. Bledsoe had as many rebounds, eight, as the starting center, Jordan.
“Sometimes they just don’t fall your way,” Griffin said. “Also, the foul trouble hurt. When you’re not in the game, you don’t get a rhythm. It felt like every single time I was in position to rebound, it either went in or would just bounce the opposite way. But I should never have three rebounds.”
It is the Clippers’ sixth straight loss and they have yet to win on the road. They start a two-game trip Wednesday at Minnesota.
“In this game, I thought it came down to scoring,” Griffin said. “We had a few stops and made a few runs, here and there.
But we’ve got to be able to score and move the ball and limit open shots.”
Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro spoke about the kids in the lineup before the game and was asked about their lack of experience, about the potential of things falling apart.
“Yes, I’m very concerned about that,” he said, drawing a laugh from the reporters.