Clippers are no match for Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS — The Clippers knew that facing one of the elite teams in the NBA in the Indiana Pacers would require them to execute at all costs.
The Clippers failed to execute far too often, leading to a 106-92 defeat to the Pacers on Saturday night.
Against a Pacers team that has the best record in the NBA at 32-7 and now has a 21-1 home record, the Clippers couldn’t afford to play a lesser brand of basketball.
But they did.
They shot 39.8% from the field, 25% (five for 20) from three-point range, much of that because “we just didn’t execute offensively,” Coach Doc Rivers said.
They were out-rebounded, 48-39. They had eight of their shots blocked.
Blake Griffin had a tough night, scoring 19 points. But he missed 12 of his 18 shots and got into a situation with Pacers forward David West.
J.J. Redick missed 13 of his 17 shots, all seven of his three-point shots and ended the game with a bruised left knee.
Starting point guard Darren Collison suffered a sprained left big toe and Matt Barnes suffered a swollen left thumb.
That was just part of the pain the Clippers felt after their winning streak ended at five games and they fell to 10-11 on the road.
“The Pacers are arguably the best team,” Griffin said. “They are playing the best right now. So you look to play well against teams like this.”
Paul George and Lance Stephenson did all they could to keep the Clippers at bay.
George had 36 points on 12-for-17 shooting, five for six on three-pointers.
Stephenson had 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
George had the play of the game after he got a steal and threw down a 360-degree one-handed dunk that had the crowd going crazy and even drew looks of admiration from the Clippers on the bench.
“I wanted to put on a show for our fans,” George said. “They support us and I want them to keep coming back.”
The Clippers fell into a 20-point hole in the third quarter, looking like a team unable to cope with playing back-to-back games against the Pacers.
But the Clippers did find a little spark, cutting their lead to nine points in the fourth.
Then the Pacers went right back to work, opening up a 22-point lead later in the fourth.
“I think it was a lack of execution,” said Jamal Crawford, who led the Clippers with 22 points. “We had it in spurts, but not for a complete game. Against a team like that, you have to kind of stay disciplined and stay executing the whole time.”
The game had just moved along with the Pacers handling the Clippers pretty easily in the first half.
Then West and Griffin got entangled just before the first half was over, leading to West elbowing Griffin in the head.
After the officials reviewed the play while both teams were in their locker rooms, West was ejected from the game for a flagrant foul two.
“I didn’t do anything,” Griffin said about his incident with West. “We were kind of just both kind of grabbing for the ball and I felt the elbow.”
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