Los Angeles Clippers: Indiana Pacers

Rapid Reaction: Pacers 106, Clippers 92

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
6:47
PM PT


INDIANAPOLIS -- Most teams complain about their schedule at some point in the season. It’s natural to hit a couple of rough patches during the course of an 82-game season.

But the Los Angeles Clippers certainly a have a reason to wonder if they did anything wrong to the schedule makers as they endure their second two-week road trip of the season.

The Clippers lost the second game of their road trip to the Indiana Pacers, 106-92, and dropped another road game against one of the top five teams in the league. So far this season the Clippers have dropped road games to the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and now Indiana. The one constant in each of those loses: the second night of a road back-to-back.

“It’s hard,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “Every day is a gauge as far as I’m concerned. It’s more how mentally tough we are.”

How it happened: The Clippers took a seven-point lead in the first quarter but were never able to get back into the game after the Pacers went up by 10 at the end of the quarter, then by 18 in the second quarter. Indiana eventually went up by as many as 22, and the Clippers were only able to cut it back down to 10 late.

What it means: The Clippers lost another road game to a top-five team on the second night of a road back-to-back. It’s not so much of an excuse as it is a reality for a team that would like to play the league’s best team with a day to prepare. Either way, this wasn’t a game the Clippers were expected to win -- with or without Chris Paul.

Hits: Blake Griffin had 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists and was able to get David West ejected after wrestling with him for a ball, resulting in West elbowing Griffin in the head. Jamal Crawford was solid off the bench, scoring 22 points.

Misses: Outside of Griffin and Crawford, there were a lot of misses on the night for the Clippers. Jared Dudley once again struggled, scoring just six points, and was replaced in stretches by Matt Barnes. J.J. Redick had his worst game since returning to the lineup, scoring six points on 4-of-17 shooting and missing all seven of his 3-point attempts.

Stat of the game: The Clippers shot under 40 percent from the field and just 25 percent from beyond the arc.

Up next: The Clippers’ road trip continues in Michigan on Monday when they play the Detroit Pistons. It will be the first meeting of the season between the teams and the first time the Clippers will play the Pistons since Chauncey Billups returned to Detroit.

Rapid Reaction: Pacers 109, Clippers 106

April, 1, 2013
4/01/13
10:37
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- When Vinny Del Negro lit into his team after its embarrassing loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, he hoped something would sink in. He hoped that his players would understand where they are in the season and how crucial these final games are.

It’s one thing to lose, but it’s another to not even bother showing up with enough energy and motivation to win. If Del Negro thought it couldn’t get any worse than Saturday, he was wrong. It got much worse through three quarters on Monday against the Indiana Pacers.

With everyone eager to see how the Clippers would respond to their 1-3 road trip and the verbal lashing they got from their coach, the Clippers fell behind 10-0 to start the game and trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half before rallying and ultimately losing 109-106. The late comeback, however, can’t camouflage how ugly the Clippers looked for 40 minutes on Monday, and the fact that they have now lost four of their past five games.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Wake up

It sounds simplistic, but much of what has ailed the Clippers recently is a complete lack of effort and energy. It’s the first thing Del Negro and many of the players point to when talking about their late season swoon. The Clippers are going through their worst slump at the worst possible time with just seven games left in the season and their postseason positioning hanging in the balance. The way they are playing, they will likely open up the playoffs on the road at either Memphis or Denver, which could easily mean a quick postseason if they don’t turn things around. The Clippers are now 17-17 in the second half of the season after starting the 2012-13 campaign a league-best 32-9, and are 7-8 in the month of March. Quite simply, they’re a .500 team since the midway point of the season, and they’re playing like it right now. If they don’t turn things around, it will be a quick playoff appearance for them after enjoying their best season in franchise history.

Big-name problems

The Clippers need their biggest players to show up in their biggest games, and that simply didn’t happen for much of Monday’s game. Against the Pacers, Chris Paul was just 2-of-12 from the field for 10 points and four turnovers. Paul was just 1-for-10 through three quarters, with that one make taking place in the first quarter. Jamal Crawford was 8-of-19 from the field for 25 points, but struggled early in the game. Through three quarters he was just 3-for-10 from the field with eight points. DeAndre Jordan was essentially a nonfactor in the game, going 0-for-2 from the field with five rebounds and no assists in 17 minutes. Not exactly the kind of game you’d like from your starting center.

Comeback

On the bright side -- if a team that has lost four of five games can have one of those -- the Clippers made a late comeback and came within a basket of beating the Pacers at the end of the game. The Clippers could have packed it in, as they did against Houston and as it looked like they did through three quarters Monday night. L.A., however, came back from being down by 24 points and made it a one-point game, but ultimately couldn’t complete the comeback. The Clippers are well past the point of moral victories and consolation prizes, but if they can build on the way they finished the game Monday night, maybe -- just maybe -- they can turn around their season over the last seven games on the schedule.

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