The Clippers had to keep their starters in until the end of the game, but were able to pull out a 130-118 win on the road in Charlotte.

Game Summary

I don’t know if this game is worthy of or truly needs a blow-by-blow breakdown. The Clippers and Hornets were tied at 13 around halfway through the first. The Clippers got a lead after that, and, for the most part, never looked back. The lead hit double digits in the 2nd quarter and grew to as large as 19 at one point, with the Hornets proving incapable of slowing the Clippers’ attack all game. The Hornets cut the lead down to as low as six at some points late in the game, but the Clippers always felt in control and I never once thought the Hornets would pull off the win. Ultimately, that all rang true, and the Clippers won 130-118.


PG Goes Off: Paul George was at his best tonight, at least offensively, looking absolutely unstoppable on the way to 41 points on 14-21 shooting (8-12 from three) with 5-5 from deep. PG roasted a young guy who greatly admires him in Brandon Miller, as well as any other defender the Hornets threw at him. Not only that, but PG went to the rim, not settling for jumpers despite the scorcher that he was on. The cherry on top? Zero turnovers to four assists and seven rebounds, giving PG a relatively error-free and well-rounded game on top of his scoring. PG won’t always shoot like this, of course, but it was wonderful to see him go off tonight.

Big Zu Went Off Too: There’s an argument that Ivica Zubac had his best game of the season in this one, going for 24 points (season-high), 12 rebounds (most since February 22), and 2 blocks on an incredible 7-8 shooting and 10-10 from the line. After being in a funk for much of the past two months, Zu’s scoring on one end and disruption at the rim on the other end was fantastic to see, especially after another solid game on Friday. If Big Zu is finally rounding back into form, it bodes well for the Clippers’ chances of making noise in the playoffs.

Rotations Setting In: With less than 10 games left in the NBA season, Clippers coach Ty Lue might, finally, be close to setting his rotations. Similarly to the Magic game, Ty went with 9 players – the usual starters, Norm and Russ as guards off the bench, Amir as the lone reserve wing, and Mason Plumlee as the backup center. Or, in short, no Theis and no PJ Tucker. Now, Mason did only play 7 minutes, and all of those were in the first half; that’s clearly the last spot that’s up in the air. But for right now, Ty seems to have figured out groupings he’s comfortable with.

Standings Watch: The Thunder, Nuggets, Mavs, Kings, Lakers, and Warriors all won today, though the later two’s relevance to the Clippers is near zero. The Timberwolves and Rockets lost, while the Pelicans and Suns did not play. The Clippers’ win was thus important at keeping them two losses ahead of the surging Mavs and Pelicans, as well as four ahead of the Suns and Kings. The Rockets’ loss combined with the Clippers’ win also means the Clippers have officially secured at least a play-in bid: they can’t fall lower than 10th. They are also at least theoretically still in play for a top three seed, but those dreams are realistically over. It seems quite likely the Clippers will play either the Mavs or Pelicans in the 4-5, but things are still murky and the Kings and Suns remain in the mix as well.

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