The L.A. Clippers (23-24) finished with seven players in double-figures to complete a 24-point, second-half comeback over the Philadelphia 76ers (26-19) 102-101 on the road Friday night. Reggie Jackson clocked in a team-high 19 points (8-14 FG, 1-2 3PT, 2-2 FT) and nine assists. Nicolas Batum was didn’t miss a beat in his return, adding in 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-5 3PT), seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Joel Embiid had a monster game for the Sixers, piling up 40 points (15-25 FG, 3-3 3PT, 7-10 FT), 13 rebounds, and six assists. Read on for our full Clippers vs. 76ers game recap.
We’re going to keep fighting. No matter what our record is or where the score is, we’re going to continue to fight. This is a resilient bunch. We just want to play the way we did in Denver for this entire trip and see where the chips fall at the end.Reggie Jackson
It was a fun, free-flowing opening to this one as all five Clipper starters scored en route to a 15-8 lead before the game’s first breather. Like a Bat out of hell (H/T Law Murray), Nicolas Batum was razor-sharp early, nailing a three from each of the corners to lead the Clips with eight points in the period. Reggie Jackson started off hot as well, going 3-for-4 from the field. Marcus Morris Sr. was a bit casual with the ball, accounting for two of LAC’s five turnovers which led to seven Philadelphia points. Aside from the giveaways and Ivica Zubac getting tagged with two fouls midway, however, the Clippers’ hot shooting and active doubling of Joel Embiid had LA up by as much as 13. Through one, the Clippers led 24-17.
Whereas the first quarter saw the Clips do a lot of good, the second quarter saw them get outscored 37-16. It ended up being a 27-point turnaround since LAC led 24-11 in the first as, by the end of the frame, the Clippers couldn’t capitalize with Embiid out and got torched by him once he returned. The first glaring issue was the self-inflicted turnovers as although there were just three of them, their timings chalked all momentum over to the opposition. The next problem aligned with the small bench unit. Although Tyronn Lue and co. had a restocked list of options to go to, save for the G Leaguers and the 213 duo, the rotation decisions here were not the best. The awkward Serge Ibaka/Isaiah Hartenstein timeshare made for some inconsistent offense while going with an Eric Bledsoe-Luke Kennard-Brandon Boston Jr.-Terance Mann unit was not worth the offensive upside. LAC was outrebounded 19-7 in the period alone. By the time the starters came back in, Furkan Korkmaz and Georges Niang had the Philly crowd back in it before Embiid and Tyrese Maxey went on to combine for 23 points and four assists. At the break, Philadelphia led 54-40.
The third quarter started out with more of the same as Embiid and Harris kept it rolling for the Sixers while the Clipper starters were cold. Just as it was looking like LA should just pack it in and focus on New York, however, Lue made another aggressive move — swapping in Kennard for Zubac as the first sub of the second half. With Batum guarding Embiid, and a bit more pace and space, the Clippers stopped the bleeding down 68-51 to trail just 75-63 by the time the star center sat down. Heading to the fourth, the 76ers led 80-70.
With a Kennard 3 to start the final frame, the tension started to fill Wells Fargo Center once more as the Clipper deficit was just seven. At the 9:31 mark, Embiid checked back into the game with both sides exchanging misses. Another Kennard triple cut the Sixers’ lead to four. With a Maxey trey, a Tobias Harris middy, and an Embiid dunk, Lue reassembled the full LAC starting lineup down nine with 6:01 left to play. Exchanging threes for twos courtesy of Morris Sr., Jackson, and Batum, the Clippers inched closer to the lead before a Batum tip-out to Senior-3 tied it, and a Batum steal to Zubac-layup put LA out in front. After a split pair of Harris-free throws and a pure Amir Coffey-pullup gave LAC a three-point lead, the foul game was officially on for the final 39.7. Morris Sr. ended up missing a pair at the line with 9.4 seconds to go, but with no timeout for either side left and a rebounding scrum later, Maxey’s one-legged heave at the horn was just off line.
Clippers vs. 76ers Game Notes
- Embiid’s Bag: For the second night in a row, the Clippers just took the best of the best from what this league currently has to offer at the center position. Getting doubled from the get-go, Joel Embiid adjusted to whatever the Clippers threw at him and was unstoppable. Despite him putting up his fifth 30 point-10 rebound-five assist game of the season, there’s honestly not much else LAC could have done to slow him down tonight.
- Clip-tonite: Looking at the box score to find results such as LAC bringing the rebounding differential all the way back in the second half against the worst rebounding team in the league in the Sixers, it’s pretty clear why the Clips were able to make a run. They ended up losing the points-in-the-paint battle just 52-42 while also winning the second-chance points department 20-13. When the Clippers take care of the dirty work, their ability to shoot the ball can swing them back to life.
- Batum Brings it Home: This was a prime game to record and throw in the Clipper Nation collective of vintage Batum Battalion performances. We had mentioned how his return would be a huge boost for this group and he flat out starred in his role tonight.
“Hats off to Nico,” Reggie Jackson said. “32 in one half, hit protocol again, flew in late last night for us, and he never complains. He never complains, hits big shot after big shot, guards the one, guards the five. That has to be the best glue guy in the league. That’s one of my favorite players growing up watching, and now I’m just honored to be able to play with him. He makes this go.”
Up Next: The Clippers will face off against the New York Knicks in a matinee affair at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 23, at 10 a.m. PT.
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