The LA Clippers finally had their home opener for the 2022-23 season, but turned in a lackluster effort in a 112-95 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
From the get-go, the Clippers just didn’t seem to have it. The Suns rattled off 11 straight points to start the game before the Clippers made their first basket. It was Marcus Morris Sr. who scored the Clippers first points, which should have been a sign of how the game was going to go. Morris was the only player who consistently showed up the entire game en route to scoring a team-high 22 points.
The Clippers did get a little shot in the arm when John Wall came into the game late in the first quarter. In the early goings of this season, each time Wall has come into the game, he has brought an infectious energy that has an immediate impact. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get the Clippers going, as they trailed by double-digits going into the half. Not even Kawhi Leonard’s first appearance late in the second quarter could muster up a sustained Clipper effort.
In the second half, the Clippers showed some signs of life as they would pull to within ten points, 82-72. But that was as close as they got as the Suns had an answer for every Clippers run. They would try to make one final push when Leonard came back into the game with the Clippers down 88-76 with just over nine minutes to play, but it was to no avail as the Suns fended them off again.
Thoughts & Quotes
The Clippers looked every bit the part of a team that had played a tight game on the road the night before. They were a step slow defensively, they couldn’t keep up with Phoenix on the glass and just took tired shots. After the game, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue didn’t want to use the back-to-back as an excuse and noted that the Suns just came out with more aggression.
“We didn’t match their physicality early on or their pace that they play with, that was to start. You can’t start games like that,” Lue said. “We just got to be better to start games. I got to do a better job to adjust offensively, just making sure that they understand what we want and what we’re trying to do.”
Paul George echoed Lue’s sentiments about consistently getting off to stronger starts.
“We got to get to it right away, we got to be ready to play. We got to be in attack mode, we got to be aggressive, we got to be the aggressors,” George said. “The game starts, we got to be the one putting the other team on their heels. Tonight that wasn’t us, but we’ll address that.”