LOS ANGELES -- The fact that the Sixers were tied with the Los Angeles Clippers after one quarter on Wednesday night was slightly deceiving.
The Clippers lost in Sacramento 24 hours earlier and appeared to be stuck in the same malaise that plagued them against the Kings.
Then came the second quarter in which the Clippers made 60 percent of their shots and the Sixers could not buy a basket. The Sixers followed that with a third quarter that saw them commit seven of their 19 turnovers in the game.
It all equaled up to a 101-72 loss for the Sixers, their 41st of the season (see Instant Replay).
“Their defense was tremendous tonight,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said of the Clippers. “They really did a good job. They do a great job trapping Jrue (Holiday). They are not going to let him get any shot opportunities and they try and get the ball out of his hands.
“We did some good things for a while and then turnovers just killed us. They had 24 points off turnovers and they had 13 steals.”
“I feel like that is what they do,” Holiday said. “They are very hard to stop in transition. They have so many high flyers and obviously from the past weeks you start to think a little more about jumping with those guys, but they definitely take advantage of turnovers.”
Holiday finished with a season-low two points on a dismal 1-for-8 shooting. It was just the sixth time in 63 games this year that Holiday failed to reach double-figure points.
The Clippers held the Sixers to just 36.7 percent shooting from the field and 30 percent from three-point range. They also limited Holiday to four assists.
By taking the ball out of Holiday’s hands, the Sixers’ big men were forced to do more of the team’s decision making. Spencer Hawes took on that duty, recording seven assists to go with 16 points and seven rebounds as the lone bright spot for the team.
“They swarm,” Holiday said. “They obviously made our big (Hawes) make some point-guard decisions and I think he did a great job. I mean we did really well in the first half. Second half we let it get away from us.”
“They got us turning it over and got some easy baskets,” Hawes said. “I thought we defended them well when we weren't turning it over early, when we were in the halfcourt. When they get out in transition, they're as dangerous as any team in the league.”
Things started to unravel after intermission mainly because of the play of Chris Paul.
Paul had 10 points and two assists in the decisive third quarter. The All-Star point guard finished with a game-high 19 points, nine assists, six rebounds and five steals before watching nearly the entire fourth quarter from the Clippers’ bench.
“Chris Paul just impacts the game in every possible way. He is an amazing player, Collins said. “We were hanging around for a while, but the turnovers were the deciding factor.”
“He’s tough. He’s a dog. He runs the team, he does everything,” Holiday added. “He scores when he has to or wants to. He obviously gets everyone else off as well, and at the same time that’s a very deep team. They can go to their bench and get so much out of that.”
The Clippers’ bench outscored the Sixers’ reserves, 42-25. Even former Sixer and Villanova standout Maalik Wayns joined in on the act, scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in the Clippers’ win.
The Sixers will play at Denver on Thursday. The Nuggets are 30-3 at home this season and are currently riding a 13-game winning streak.