Instant Replay: Clippers 107, Sixers 90

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Instant Replay: Clippers 107, Sixers 90

BOX SCORE

The Los Angeles Clippers lead the Pacific Division and two All-Stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. They also have proved that they are a complete team by winning 18 consecutive games earlier this season.

The Sixers may have an All-Star of their own, but they are far from being a well-rounded team. They were dominated from start to finish in a 107-90 loss to the Clippers on Monday to close out their eight-game homestand.

The Sixers allowed the Clippers to shoot 59 percent from the floor, including 8 of 19 from three-point range as their record dropped to 22-28.

Turning point
The Clippers were been dubbed “Lob City” Clippers with high-fliers Griffin and DeAndre Jordon on the roster. The highlight dunks from those two may get all the attention, but the Clippers actually do get after opponents defensively as they hold teams to the fourth-fewest points per game (93.6).

Los Angeles led 30-22 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Clippers limited the Sixers to 11 points on 5-for-22 shooing. The Clippers took a comfortable 23-point lead into the locker room at the half and never looked back.

Follow the leader
Griffin and Paul put on a show Monday night. Paul scored 21 points and handed out 11 assists in 25 minutes. Griffin totaled 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists. Jordan pulled down 10 boards and scored eight points.

Nick Young snapped out of his shooting slump to lead the Sixers with 29 points. Evan Turner, Jeremy Pargo and Jrue Holiday were the only other Sixers in double figures with 10 points each.

Stat-egic
Lavoy Allen grabbed a career-high 22 rebounds on Saturday against Charlotte. Against the Clippers, Allen played 29 minutes and did not have a rebound until there was 2:30 left to play in the third quarter.

Allen pulled down just one more board before his night ended.

Take a bow
Jamal Crawford is a good bet to win Sixth Man of the Year. He came off the Clippers’ bench to score 20 points on an efficient 8-for-10 shooting.

What’s next?
The Sixers play their final game before the All-Star break in Milwaukee Wednesday night.

The Bucks beat the Sixers for a second time this season on Jan. 22 at the Bradley Center, 110-102. Milwaukee has since slipped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

In that meeting the Bucks’ guards dominated the Sixers’ backcourt. Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, while Monta Ellis dropped in 18. The duo combined to shoot 15 for 27 from the floor.

Meanwhile, Holiday and Royal Ivey were 6 of 15 together for 17 points.

Ersan Ilyasova led all scorers with 27 points and was high man in rebounding with 16.

Sixers burned by yet another point guard in loss to Celtics

Sixers burned by yet another point guard in loss to Celtics

The Sixers had been burned by point guards before. Many times, actually. 

Just a week ago, Kyrie Irving dropped 39 points in the Cavs' 112-108 win. Nineteen came in the decisive fourth quarter. 

On Saturday Isaiah Thomas did the same damage. The undersized All-Star tied his season-high with 37 points in the Celtics' comeback 107-106 victory (see instant replay).

“Isaiah’s an All-Star,” Jahlil Okafor said. “He showed us why tonight. He’s the head of their team and came up big for them like he usually does.” 

Thomas made his impact in spurts. During the Celtics' 9-0 second quarter run, he scored six of those points. In the fourth quarter, in which the game was decided, he dropped 12 straight Celtics points. Thomas finished the night 11 for 19 for the field and only 2 of 3 from three. 

The most telling stat was at the free throw line. Thomas shot 13 for 15 after attacking and drawing fouls, a point of emphasis by head coach Brad Stevens for the second half. 

Thomas scored 15 points in the first half. He noticed a change in the Sixers defense in the second and capitalized on it. The Celtics ability to stretch the floor with their three-point shooting bigs also created opportunities for Thomas to get to the rim. 

“In the second half they sat back a little bit and they were switching a lot,” Thomas explained, also noting, “We wanted to put Okafor in a pick-and-roll. He sits far back. I just wanted to attack him downhill. It’s hard for bigs to move those bigs legs they’ve got. So I just tried to stay in attack mode and I saw we were in the bonus.”

The Sixers have had problems defending the one spot all season. Isaiah Thomas is the fifth starting point guard to score 30 points or more against them. He joins Russell Westbrook (32), Jeff Teague (30 in overtime), James Harden (33) and Irving. Another five (Kemba Walker, John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry) have scored 20 or more points. 

The oneness of these high-scoring point guards doesn’t fall solely on the Sixers backcourt, where Sergio Rodriguez has been assuming the starting role in place of the oft-injured Jerryd Bayless. These opponents have been doing their work inside the arc. Of the five who have scored 30, only two (Harden and Irving) attempted more than three treys. 

“We’re all working hard trying to stop them, but it’s easier said than done,” Okafor said. 

The next point guard the Sixers will face is Emmanuel Mudiay when they take on the Nuggets Monday. Last season Mudiay hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating three in Denver. 

Instant Replay: Celtics 107, Sixers 106

Instant Replay: Celtics 107, Sixers 106

BOX SCORE

Rewind 24 hours.

The Sixers were walking off the court Friday night after a dismal blowout loss to the Magic that left Brett Brown reflecting on Saturday, “Here in Philadelphia, at home, that’s not good enough.”

The Sixers had lacked fire and grit, especially with Joel Embiid on the floor against a sub-.500 Magic team that had played the night before in Memphis. 

They had a day to turn it around. A playoff contending Celtics squad was coming to town and Embiid wasn’t available because of his back-to-back limitations. The shorthanded Sixers (see below) had a tall task ahead of them. 

The Sixers reacted by jumping out early and kept the Celtics at bay in the first half. Even when the Celtics cut their lead to three midway through the second quarter, the Sixers responded with an 8-0 burst to go up by a game-high 11 points. 

The Celtics exposed the Sixers' defensive void in the paint without Embiid in the third. With the Sixers up 65-58, Isaiah Thomas drew a foul against Jahlil Okafor. That play sparked a 9-0 Celtics run over the next two minutes, in which Thomas scored six of those points (including four at the line). The Celtics took back the lead during that stretch and forced the Sixers to play catchup.

The Sixers cut the Celtics lead to one in the fourth with a three from Dario Saric, who played one of his most aggressive games of his short NBA career. After the Celtics jumped back up by seven, the Sixers kept fighting and tied the game 100 apiece. The Celtics were able to pull away and finished with a one-point win, 107-106, after Ersan Ilyasova drained a three at the buzzer. 

Inside the stats
Thomas exploded for 37 points (11 for 19 from the field, 2 for 3 from three, 13 for 15 from the line), four rebounds, and seven assists.

Saric recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, both tying career-highs. 

Ersan Ilyasova dropped 18 points, including three treys, and six rebounds.

Okafor and Sergio Rodriguez scored 15 apiece, with Rodriguez adding eight assists. 

Avery Bradley dropped 20 points and nine rebounds. 

Stauskas starts in place of Covington
Brown turned to shooting guard Nik Stauskas to slide over to the three spot in place of the injured Robert Covington (see below). 

“Boston’s perimeter defense is as good as it is in the NBA,” Brown explained. “I think you need to have more ball handlers, people who can make a play, on the perimeter … I feel that Nik has that ability to put it to the floor and disrupt that aggressive pressure that the Celtics backcourt can put on you.”

Broken ankles
Saric came up with the Sixers' highlight play of the game when he did this to Jonas Jerebko in the third quarter for an instant highlight reel moment. 

Always a student
Not playing, still learning. Embiid has been praised for being an eager student of the game. During warmups he sat courtside to watch film on a laptop even though he wasn’t suiting up. 

Injury updates
Joel Embiid is not playing in back-to-back games and sat out the back end of this home-home series for rest … Robert Covington sat out with a sprained left knee he suffered on Friday after colliding with T.J. McConnell chasing a ball out of bounds … Jerryd Bayless missed his fourth straight game with left wrist soreness. 

Up next
The Sixers host the Nuggets on Monday night.