Sometimes in the NBA, a good team will be scheduled to play another good team. Monday was one of those nights.
Also, sometimes in the NBA, one team will play well, and the other will play awfully. Monday was one of those nights, too.
The Indiana Pacers are 48-27, good for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. This is enough evidence to say with pretty solid confidence that they’re a good team.
The Los Angeles Clippers are 49-26, which is the fifth-best record in the West. They are also allegedly a good basketball team.
The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Clippers played each other at Staples Center on Monday night, and, for about 70 percent of the game, there was only one good basketball team playing. It was not the Los Angeles Clippers.
Indiana led this game by 16 points heading into the fourth quarter, and led by as many as 24 points at one point midway through the third quarter.
They were hitting threes, forcing turnovers and getting themselves easy baskets. The Clippers were doing none of these things. Hence the 24-point deficit.
Then, for some reason, the Clippers decided they’d actually try and win the game. Unfortunately for them, they decided to try and win the game too late. Indiana triumphed 109-106.
Roy Hibbert and Paul George combined for 49 points for Indiana, and the Clippers got subpar performances from both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul en route to their third-consecutive loss, and their fourth loss in the last five games.
The Pacers scored the first 10 points of the game, making the Clippers look tired and lost in the process. DeAndre Jordan technically played in this game, but I had to look it up to be sure. He hit the bench midway through the third quarter, never to return. He didn’t score a point and grabbed five rebounds (allegedly).
The Clippers did get a good performance from Jamal Crawford off the bench, who led the team with 25 points. He, and the rest of the bench, brought the team back into the game in the fourth, eventually narrowing the deficit to seven points with just over seven minutes to go.
Chris Paul, who finished with 10 points, game back into the game with about four minutes to go, and Griffin checked back in with two minutes to play.
Lamar Odom was a major source of energy for L.A. (not a typo), and finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Los Angeles trailed by three points with just over one second remaining, as Matt Barnes completed a perfect football pass to Griffin, who leapt and threw it to Odom in one motion. Odom then missed what would’ve been the game-tying three-pointer as time expired.
Indiana finished 21-28 from the free-throw line as a team, but converted on all eight attempts in the waning moments to keep the Clippers at bay. They shot 54 percent from the field, and 10-23 from three-point range. The Clippers’ woes in defending the three continued.
This was L.A.’s third attempt at getting to 50 wins, which would set a new franchise record. They’ll get their fourth shot at 50 wins Wednesday when they take on the lowly Phoenix Suns, who are shamelessly tanking down-the-stretch for draft position.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.