It may not be fair to call any win an “ugly” win, since they all count just the same, but there wasn’t really anything “pretty” (at least offensively) about the Clippers’ 94-83 victory over the Sixers in Philadelphia Monday night.
They shot just 42 percent from the floor (and an abysmal 18 percent on three-pointers), but it was enough to topple the lowly Sixers in a game that was more hotly-contested than the final score indicates. Blake Griffin led the Clips with 26 points, while Chris Paul added 25 and 13 assists as the Clippers improved to 2-1 on their current road trip.
Philadelphia was even worse off offensively, connecting on just 35 percent of their field goal attempts and 3-21 of their threes. The Clippers are now 14-8, while the Sixers dropped to 7-15.
While L.A. struggled to find a rhythm on offense, it was their defense that helped carry them across the finish line in this one. They’ve been maligned defensively for much of the young season thus far, but have really come around following a very slow start. After ranking dead-last in the NBA in defensive efficiency as recently as two weeks ago, a recent string of stingy play has lifted the Clips all the way to 11th in the league, as they’re now allowing just 100.4 points per 100 possessions. They have a long way to go to reach the top (Indy leads the league at 92.5), but the improvement is rather noteworthy, particularly for how quickly the turnaround has come.
The Clippers are a bit banged-up at the moment, and played last night without the likes of Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick and Reggie Bullock. DeAndre Jordan was a game-time call with a sore foot, but was in the lineup, and responded by scoring 11 points and grabbing 21 rebounds.
Rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams was out of the lineup for the 76ers with a knee issue, and Evan Turner led the way for them, scoring 25 points with 8 rebounds. Tony Wroten started in place of MCW, and finished with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
Los Angeles led 44-36 at the half, and then turned it on to start the third quarter, using a run to extend the lead to 57-36. Philly battled back a bit, but didn’t have enough firepower to get over that mountaintop.
The Clippers are reportedly on the verge of signing forward Stephen Jackson, who last played for San Antonio last season. The deal could be completed by the time the Clippers hit the court in Boston against the Celtics on Wednesday.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.