LA Clippers end win streak of Indiana Pacers with 99-91 win
The Clippers played the Pacers today. That means Blake Griffin played today. That means this:
Blake Griffin is not even completely healthy right now. ”It’s not great,” said Griffin, who has been dealing with a bursa sac problem in the elbow. ”I got it drained a couple weeks ago, right after the All-Star break, so I’m sure it will puff right back up.” The frontline of the Clippers was banged up today. DeAndre Jordan had to leave the game briefly with a bloody nose.
But the Clippers had enough firepower to end the five game win streak of the Pacers by winning this one 99-91. Or rather, Chris Paul had enough firepower.
”Best point guard in the universe right now.” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel of Chris Paul.
I love Chris Paul. What do you do when your opponent goes on a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter and cuts your lead to 91-87 with 2:45 left? “You’ve got to hate to lose, you know what I mean?” Paul said. “Here we had a solid lead, and this league is built off momentum. A few of those shots on that [Pacers] run, you’re just like, ‘Man, I know he’s going to make it.’ Then at some point, you’ve just got to settle everything down and say, ‘It’s win time.”
When your opponent makes such a run, you pummel them back with a 8-0 run all by yourself. CP3 had 29 points and 8 assists. And he shot 11 of 18 from the field. They say that the point guard is supposed to to pass the ball, but you can’t be a playmaker unless the defense respects your scoring ability. The primary job of a point guard is to create, and Paul creates like few others in the NBA. He did lead everyone in assists with 8 today, but he also filled up the scoring column to lead all scorers. Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said, “We tried to open up the court for him and he’s either going to hit shots or make the right basketball play. That’s what star players do.” (My translation- “I’m not going to micromanage my stars like that dope across town. Give him the ball, let him work it.”)
Off balance jumpers, penetrating drives. All in a day’s work for Paul. “Chris made some unbelievable plays down the stretch. He’s a closer and we’re lucky to have him.” Crawford said. “I just love to see him take over games like that,” Chauncey Billups added. “That is something that you’re either blessed to have or you’re sorry you don’t have it. He’s got it.” The Clippers got double figure scoring from three players. In addition to Paul, Griffin chipped in with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Jamal Crawford had 23 off the bench.
“I watch the Pacers play a lot. D-West is like my brother. And they have been beating teams real bad lately, especially here at home. So I think this is a good win for us. I think every night we are going into different arenas and the other team knows that they are in for a dogfight that night. I think we’re becoming like a San Antonio or a Miami or any of the other top teams,” said Paul. Good teams don’t let statement plays go unanswered. Paul George dropped a vicious dunk on the Clippers on one play, and Paul broke his ankles right on the next play.
The Indiana Pacers are for real. Their stingy defense is well known, and once Granger gets his groove back they will be even more formidable. Today they had two players scoring more than 20 points and three others in double figures. David West led them with 22 points but he shot only 5 of 14 from the field. He had 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Paul George, the All-Star, had 20 points on 7 of 18 shooting. Lance Stephenson chipped in with 16 points and 7 rebounds. George Hill and Danny Granger had 12 points a piece. But it wasn’t enough. The Pacers were careless coming out of the gate.
“You can’t win when it’s a 15-5 turnover differential (in the first half),” George said. “It’s just something we have to learn from.” The Pacers outrebounded the Clippers 40 to 36. The Clippers shot 48.8% from the field to 42.7% of the Pacers. “Not having Roy was a huge factor,” Paul George said. “Roy brings a presence.” That he does. Roy Hibbert was out serving a suspension for his part in the brawl vs the Warriors the other day. The presence of the 7″2 center alters a lot of shots for the opposition.”Roy Hibbert makes a big difference in our team. Everybody says he’s having a bad year, but he’s having a good year. We have the number one defense in the league and he’s a big part of it, ” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel.
With this win the Clippers improved to 42-18 as the Pacers fell to 36-22.
Here are the Clippers’ highlights from today’s game: