The LA Clippers (16-6) lost a close one to the Brooklyn Nets (14-9) and their big 3 last night 124-120 at Barclays Center. The Clippers played well on both ends to start out, taking an 8 point lead after the first quarter. During the second quarter, the Nets started to find their rhythm as they cut the lead down to 1. LA managed to take a 2 point lead into the final stanza, but it was there that the Nets Big 3 went off. Brooklyn’s offense was just too much to overcome. The Clippers got cold for a stretch, and could not match the powerhouse O of the Nets. Brooklyn went on an 18-4 run late and LA could not recover. They were able to make it close enough to try and play the foul game in the waning seconds, but things would not go their way.
STAR OF THE GAME
You could give it to any of the Nets Big 3 for this one really. James Harden and his 23 point triple double, Kevin Durant and his 28 points with only missing 2 out of 13 shots, or Kyrie Irving and his 39 points. I am going to give it to Kyrie for this one though, because it was his hot streak in the second half that turned the tide for his team. If any of the the Big 3 gets it going you are in for a rough night. It seemed all 3 had it going last night though. Kyrie just had it going the most because Reggie Jackson just could not guard him. This is a game where the Clips really missed Patrick Beverley‘s defense. Kyrie in all likelihood would’ve still gone off, but probably for not as much on more difficult shots. Whenever the Nets needed a 3 pointer, Kyrie would give it to them. He’s been through some mental hurdles this year and has missed some time due to it. But upon his return he’s been absolutely nails. He may be weak in the mind off the court, but once he steps onto the hardwood he is as cold-blooded as they come.
How the Clippers execute in clutch minutes against elite opponents. There has not been much clutch time for the Clippers to play in this year. They are typically well ahead in the final minutes, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. That lack of practice had its effect on the outcome of this game though, because they made some mistakes that helped seal the Nets win. In the final moments of the game when they were trying to foul if they could not get a steal, they gave up a wide open layup. As much as I like seeing LAC blow everyone out, some close games (where they still prevail) would do them some good. They are going to need that experience come playoff time. I assure you Coach Lue and the team will have learned from last night’s mistakes. They will be ready for the Nets when they will roll into Staples Center later this year.
None of the Nets role players really stood out in this one. They were all just kind of there. They put in some points here and there, but they are just there to complement the Big 3. Which they did. So I am going to give it to Nicolas Batum and his season high 21 points. In order to win this one the Clippers were going to need a big game from someone besides their 2 All-Stars. They got it from Batum. He missed the game game previous due to injury and looked well rested and healthy for this one, making 7 out of 10 shots. Including 5 out of 8 3’s. He stepped up in a big way and helped LAC maintain a lead into the 4th. He’s not going to have this much of an output every night, but we can come to expect him to show up when we need him to.
At Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, February 3rd
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