If ever the Sixers were going to beat the Clippers on the road, it was last night. Los Angeles was coming off a bad loss to Sacramento the night before in which their starters logged a ton of minutes, two key rotation players in Chauncey Billups and Eric Bledsoe were ruled out with lingering injuries, and Philadelphia came in rested following its best week of play all season. Alas, the alarm clock went off and the Sixers awoke from whatever dream state they had been playing under recently in a 101-72 loss. Welcome back, 2012-13 Sixers.
Los Angeles came out with an effective strategy, aggressively trapping Jrue Holiday and forcing the ball out of his hands whenever possible. The young all-star looked flustered by it all evening, shooting just 1-8 for a season-low 2 points, and recording just 4 assists against 4 turnovers. As Philadelphia fans have seen this season, as Holiday goes, so go the Sixers, and last night was no different. Without him taking control of the offense, the entire team reverted to hoisting ill-advised jumpers and making sloppy passes. The Sixers committed 19 turnovers and shot just 36.7% from the field; those numbers aren’t going to bring back a win even against the dregs of the league.
Defensively, the Sixers had no answer for Chris Paul. The perennial all-star showcased his ability to get anywhere he wanted on the floor, finishing with a game-high 19 points on 8-10 shooting, to go along with 6 rebounds and 9 assists. Paul also spearheaded the Clippers’ trapping defense, as the NBA steals leaders recorded 5 more to round out another excellent effort. Philadelphia was also badly outplayed by the Clippers’ bench. Last season, the Sixers showcased their ‘night shift’ bench unit, regularly sending guys like Lou Williams and Thad Young into the game to lead the team back from some deficit. However, this season, Philadelphia just doesn’t have that scoring punch off the bench, whereas the Clippers second unit is as good as any in the league, featuring Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, etc. On a night where the starters weren’t getting it done for Philadelphia, the bench just made things worse.
The Sixers will continue their road trip tonight in Denver. Based on the situation and Philadelphia’s performance in last night’s game, the pro-tanking crowd will likely be pleased.