The Philadelphia 76ers (22-28), coming off of a win against the Bobcats welcomed the Los Angeles Clippers into the Wells Fargo Center. The Clippers were seeking the last game of their 8-game road trip. They are the third best team in the west and the best in the Pacific Division. Chris Paul had the hot hand in their last game against the Knicks, and that continued tonight.
In the first half of this game Paul hurt the Sixers on both sides of the ball. He had 12 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals. The main problem for the Sixers in the first half was their transition defense. They were unable to put the ball in the basket and to make matters worst, they were lackadaisical. You cannot fall asleep against a team like the Clippers, but that is exactly what the Sixers did. A motif for the Sixers has been that they perform semi-okay in the first quarter and finish strong in the 4th.
The problem has been the two quarters in between in which they dig themselves in deeper holes. A bright spot for the Sixers in the first half was their 10 offensive rebounds. They could certainly have used this win, but they did not have enough players show up and perform as they fell 107-90.
Keys to Loss:
1. Scoring Woes
As stated previously, the Sixers could not put the ball in the basket, and they struggled from the field. In the first half they shot 34% from the field. The Sixers had only 1 player with over 10 points, Nick Young who had 29 on 10-18 shooting. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner shot a combined 8-for-28 (28.6%) from the field, and Hawes added a 2-for-7 night to the poor shooting of the Sixers.
2. Interior Defense
The Clippers were able to score at will inside the paint, especially with the penetrating abiltites of Chris Paul and the dunking abilities of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers had 48 points in the paint and the Sixers finished the game with a total of 0 blocks. This statistic helps prove that without Bynum, the Sixers have no type of interior presence on both ends of the court, especially with the defensively-inept Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young out.
3. Inability to Stop Chris Paul
When an All-Star point guard like Chris Paul is able to get into the lane and finish or dish it off, its not a good sight for opposing teams. Paul shot 9-for-11, scored 24 points, and he was able to get many easy buckets in transition. He also had 11 assists to go along with his 24 points. Paul’s quickness also allowed him to have 5 steals.
Play of the Game:
In the third quarter, former dunk contest winner Blake Griffin had an and-one dunk on Spencer Hawes in which he switched hands in mid-air. Following his missed free throw, Clippers’ center Deandre Jordan had a put-back dunk to cap off that spectacular possession.
Players of the Game:
Nick Young, playing against his former team, was the only bright spot out there tonight for the Sixers. If they could receive this kind of production from him on a nightly basis, accompanied by Holiday and Turner, the Sixers would not be in the position they are in now. He has the occasional beauty but then goes into 2-3 game slumps. Tonight, he was 10-18 with 29 points, drained 4 threes, and had 5 assists. He also played well defensively with 3 steals.
For the Clippers, Chris Paul was the leader tonight. He managed the offense well and got all of his teammates involved in the game. Ball distribution is one of his strong suits and he proved it tonight with 11 assists. His only missed shots came from behind the arc, which is something that is important to note. He did not miss a single shot from within that three-point line.