The Clippers were too strong for the Sixers down the stretch
Tony Wroten defends Chris Paul in the Sixers' 94-83 loss to the Clippers. (USA Today Images)
The Sixers could not complete a comeback against the Clippers in a 94-83 loss at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night (see Instant Replay).
Here's a look at some key factors from the game:
1. No containing CP3
Before the game, Sixers head coach Brett Brown explained how he hoped to contain Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
“We need to keep the game in front of us on all levels. He is so special in regards to disposition and mindset,” Brown said before the game. “He is the alpha dog.”
Obviously, containing Paul is easier said than done since he had little difficulty driving to his spots on the floor. Though he had 13 assists to go with 25 points, Paul could have had a lot more assists, and that’s just counting the passes he made to Willie Green.
Green shot 3 for 11 and missed five wide-open shots that would have been assists for Paul.
As far as Brown’s “alpha dog” comment in regard to Paul, it’s an apt description. Paul was clearly in charge of the game, dictating its ebbs and flows. The people sitting courtside had no trouble hearing Paul direct his teammates around the floor or call for outlet passes after missed shots.
2. Man in the middle
As for rebounds, there were plenty of them for both teams on Monday night. The Sixers missed 20 shots in the first quarter and 17 more during the second quarter.
Those missed shots worked out well for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who grabbed 11 rebounds in the first half and 21 for the game. Jordan entered the game averaging 12.9 boards per game, the fourth-best average in the league.
Like Paul, Jordan had plenty to say on the floor during the game. During the second half, Jordan told the Sixers’ Brandon Davies, “I take those,” as they leapt for a rebound.
The Sixers made just three three-pointers against the Clippers, missing 18. Spencer Hawes went 0 for 2 from three-point range and saw his three-point streak end at 20 games.
The 20-game streak is the sixth-longest in team history.
Hawes was marginalized by the Clippers’ big men, shooting 1 for 6 for two points and four rebounds. At one point during the third quarter, Blake Griffin posted up Hawes in the middle of the paint as if he caught the Sixers in a mismatch.
3. Be aggressive
Brown also talked about the Sixers’ need to get more aggressive play from Evan Turner during the pregame powwow with the media. Whether Brown provided the impetus for Turner’s focused play or some other reason, it worked.
Turner got to the basket as evidenced by seven shots made in the paint and eight rebounds.
The aggressiveness wasn’t just reserved for Turner’s drives to the basket. While protesting a call near the Clippers’ bench during the third quarter, Los Angeles’ bench player Ryan Hollins stood up and said something to Turner.
Rather than telling Hollins to mind his own business, Turner told the center to be quiet in much more direct and colorful language.
Sometimes the direct approach best drives the point home.
4. Loud and clear
The (non) call Turner was protesting was an emphatic blocked shot by Griffin on a little jumper by Davies. Griffin swatted the ball into the fourth row behind the Clippers’ bench, though it was clearly a goaltend. Either way, the Sixers kept the ball.
5. Showing some fire
Turner and Lavoy Allen were in the middle of a little dust-up with the Clippers’ Paul and Jordan. Paul is no stranger to getting his ire up against bigger players, especially strong guys who set big picks. In fact, two summers ago, Paul had to be pulled away from Anderson Varejao during a pre-Olympic exhibition game between the U.S. and Brazil.
6. No worries
Thad Young shrugged off the non-existent trade rumors (see story) with a team-high 11 rebounds and plenty of drives to the hoop against Griffin.
“I definitely love Philly, and want to continue being here,” Young said. “If they see fit to trade me, then hey, my time is up and I have to move on.”