The Clippers’ lost in frustrating fashion to the Spurs on the road, as their offense fell apart down the stretch. Keep reading for a full recap of the Clippers’ loss to the Spurs.
The Clippers started, as they have so frequently of late with solid defense and horrible offense. It took them several minutes to get more than one bucket on the board, with Reggie Jackson again misfiring and Nic Batum with a couple uncharacteristic turnovers. However, the Clippers were able to gain a lead after a Batum and-one and a Marcus Morris three in transition. Some activity by Ivica Zubac with tip-ins and a kickout to a Coffey three got the Clippers a lead, but the Spurs answered with a flurry by Lonnie Walker. The last 3:18 of the quarter, neither team scored in a bewildering array of clanked shots, turnovers, and terrible offense. Finally, Nic Batum got a point with a second to go after getting fouled on a breakaway steal. The Clippers thus had a one-point edge heading to the second quarter.
The second period was not as auspicious. Serge continued to misfire, this time around the basket instead of from jumper range, and Brandon Boston joined him with some clanks. Meanwhile, a burst of activity from Derrick White soon gave the Spurs a six-point edge. Amir Coffey was re-inserted and Isaiah Hartenstein was brought in, and while these moves did juice up the moribund Clippers’ offense, they did nothing to slow down the suddenly hot Spurs. The Clippers were mostly able to hang around, and when the Spurs did stretch the lead to 16, a quick 5-0 spurt brought it down to a more manageable 11. This was much the state at halftime, with the Clippers down just nine going to the second half.
The 3rd quarter was almost entirely a seesaw, with the Clippers not able to get closer than eight while the Spurs couldn’t push their lead more than 13. Amir Coffey was the big man for the Clippers, putting in 10 points in the period, with nice chip-ins from Marcus Morris and Eric Bledsoe. Finally, late in the quarter, the Clippers made their push, with a couple of Serge Ibaka threes cutting the deficit to five entering the final frame.
The fourth quarter began well, with Ibaka continuing his hot streak with a midrange jumper. A tough Brandon Boston drive and a short jumper by Batum keyed an 8-0 run, giving the Clippers a five point lead and forcing a Spurs timeout. After that, the next couple minutes slowed, with the Clippers’ offense tapering off but the Spurs unable to make much a run. Ty Lue started shifting the starters back in, and the defense then fell off in addition to the offense. The Clippers collapsed on the offensive end, devolving to Marcus Morris midrange jumpers, Reggie Jackson hoists, and wild drives to the rim. He Spurs weren’t much better, but Dejounte Murray and Derrick White scored enough points to give them a small lead. The minutes trickled down, and the Clippers still couldn’t score. They put up just two points over the last seven minutes of the game on 1-11 shooting with several awful turnovers, and lost 101-94.
Coffey Drips: I didn’t mention him much above (and he didn’t score in the final quarter), but Amir Coffey was once again the Clippers’ best player, scoring 20 points on 7-13 shooting while chipping in five rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. He can’t create much in the halfcourt, but he’s doing a bit, he’s draining his catch-and-shoot threes, and his defense is mostly on point. As mentioned throughout the recap, nobody’s minutes or role on the Clippers should truly be safe, but Amir should be locked into a starting spot until Paul George returns or his play really falls off a cliff because of games like today against the Spurs.
Reggie A Mess: Reggie Jackson is just playing really, really bad basketball right now. It’s hard to truly blame him – being the lead ballhandler and playmaker on a team is just not something he’s capable of at this stage of his career. But with how he’s playing, even 25 minutes is too much. He’s not breaking down any defenders off the dribble, he’s not hitting shots, and he’s holding onto the ball too long. There was zero reason for him (and to a lesser extent, Marcus Morris, who was better throughout but terrible down the stretch) to close this one out. Nobody on this team but Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are good enough to close every single game – and on this particular version of the team, that means nobody is. Reggie’s leash needs to get shorter; if he’s not playing well, Bledsoe or Mann or even Coffey can take his place.
Serge Plays Well: I’ve been as down on Serge Ibaka as anyone this season, and still think he should lose his rotation spot to Isaiah Hartenstein when Hart regains full health, but Serge played well tonight. He shot only 4-11 from the field, but his 10 points were key to the Clippers’ 3rd-4th quarter run, and his 10 rebounds in 18 minutes were great. The Spurs without Jakob Poeltl were tiny, so it was an easy matchup for the Clippers’ bigs, but it was still good to see Serge playing with such fight and energy. He had two great blocks and was forceful on the offensive glass. More of this please!
Hartenstein Returns: Speaking of, it was great to see Isaiah back out there after a month-long absence. He only played six minutes due to a minutes restriction and Serge playing well, but he had six points on 3-3 shooting, and was as active as always. Hopefully he will continue being a boon offensively to a Clippers’ team that desperately needs energy and juice as he plays his way back into game shape.
That about does it for this recap of the Clippers’ disappointing loss to the Spurs. Leave your comments and frustrations below!