Late-game turnovers by Clippers doom them to a 109-104 loss to Pacers
The Clippers went from being out of sorts in the third and receiving a tongue-lashing from coach Doc Rivers for unsatisfactory play to down 18 points later in the quarter.
There eventually was an awakening from the Clippers that put them in position for a victory.
But it was not to be because poor late-game execution doomed the Clippers in their 109-104 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse before 17,923 fans.
The game hung in the balance with the score tied 102-102 and the Clippers owning the possession.
But they simply blew every opportunity presented to them, turning the ball over on three consecutive trips down the court, ruining their comeback and sending the Clippers to 1-2 on a four-game trip that ends Sunday in Toronto, the Eastern Conference leader.
“It was frustrating. It was a frustrating loss,” Rivers said. “I’m just disappointed in that one. Can’t make that many mistakes and think you’re going to win a game. They’re (the Pacers) playing well, so give them credit. But, that was a frustrating game.”
The first costly turnover was by Lou Williams, who would finish with 27 points. He was trapped on the baseline before coughing the ball up with 1 minute 28 seconds left.
Darren Collison made the Clippers pay for that miscue by making a 19-foot jumper.
The next costly turnover was by Tobias Harris (18 points), who had the ball stolen from him by Victor Oladipo with 35.8 seconds left.
Thaddeus Young made the Clippers pay for that miscue with an offensive rebound for a basket.
The final misadventure with the ball was when Harris tried to throw a lob pass to DeAndre Jordan that became a turnover with 27.7 seconds left.
Oladipo closed the door on the Clippers by making two free throws for a 108-102 Pacers lead.
“It’s tough. It’s tough,” Williams said. “It happens. We can’t afford to have it happen at this point, but it did and it cost us.”
The Clippers were down 13 early in third quarter when Rivers called a timeout to settle his team.
Thirteen seconds after calling that timeout, Rivers called another, his arms and head moving, obviously upset with the poor execution from his team. He unleashed his fury on Milos Teodosic for being in the wrong spot.
Rivers said his frustration was “at a peak, to say the least,” at that point.
“Yeah,” Rivers said, pausing, “I don’t even want to talk about it. That was inexcusable.”
The loss left the Clippers in 10th place in the Western Conference with 10 regular-season games left.
“I told them the three turnovers at the end were costly ones,” Rivers said. “But it was all the other stuff that happened throughout the game is why we lost the game. When you’re in the playoffs — and this is what I call this right now for our guys — basketball comes down to single possessions for 48 minutes.
“You’re going to make mistakes because it’s basketball, but you can’t make the mental ones. And we made a host of those tonight. Guys forgot plays. Those things add up. I thought at the end of the day, they did better than us in that category. So that’s on me and that’s on all those guys in there (in the locker room), because that should never happen.”
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