LOS ANGELES -- It felt like the game was over, and it had only barely begun. The Clippers welcomed their All-Star floor general, Chris Paul, back to their lineup for the first time in 19 games, and while Paul’s numbers were modest, those of his teammates were anything but.
The Clippers recorded the most-lopsided win in their franchise's history, topping the Sixers, 123-78, Sunday night at Staples Center (see Instant Replay). The Sixers dropped their sixth consecutive game and their 16th in their last 19 times out.
Brett Brown did not make excuses after the game. He had admiration for the opposition.
“The stage you are looking at and the players that are on that stage, there are athletes and men and a tenacity with the Clippers that you respect,” said Brown, whose Sixers trailed by as many as 56 points in the second half.
“That is an intense, defensive-oriented, athletic type of team that we ran into. We got jumped early and we did not respond. It is a lesson that a young team is going to have to find a way to navigate through.”
The score was 13-0. Then it was 30-5. Finally, it was 46-15 in favor of Los Angeles at the end of the first quarter. They Sixers had to watch L.A. connect on 72 percent of its first quarter field goal attempts, six of which were from three-point range.
“When they started hitting all those threes, we were focused on trying to protect the paint,” Evan Turner said. “Obviously, they got going early and didn’t stop. They didn’t miss and we couldn’t make anything.”
Turner, the Sixers leading scorer this season, went 1 for 8 from the floor and finished with just seven points. By game’s end, the Sixers had made a season-low 27 field goals for a season-low 78 points. They finished 3 for 28 from three.
“They are a tough team that is preparing for the playoffs,” Thaddeus Young said, referring to the Clippers. “I think one of the reasons they got off to such a fast start was Chris Paul being back, that was one of those emotional highs. But at the end of the day we have to go out there and make shots. We were getting good shots; we just weren’t making them.”
Meanwhile, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan did what they do best: Put Lob City on the map.
The Clippers big men combined for 36 points and on numerous occasions brought the fans to their feet. Griffin in the second quarter capped off two Clippers fast breaks with back-to-back alley-oops.
“Each and every year he has developed more,” Young said. “He is one of those guys that can now pass out of crowds and facilitate for other guys, specifically DeAndre Jordan. They throw lobs at each other now. That is one of the things you have to look for now. And his jump shot has gotten much better.”
Brown insisted there were teaching points to take from this game, and that the coaching staff will look at the video and share some things with the players before Monday’s game at Golden State.
And Brown did think there was one positive he could point to -- the play of Tony Wroten, who led the Sixers in scoring with 21 points.
Wroten was 7 for 11 from the floor and 7 for 9 from the foul line.
“Tony responded well and he is probably the shining light for us in this game,” Brown finished.