Clippers give Sixers a beating to remember

RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jrue Holiday is left in the dust after steal by Clippers' Chris Paul.
RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jrue Holiday is left in the dust after steal by Clippers' Chris Paul.
Posted: February 12, 2013

REALLY GOOD teams, no matter the circumstance, rarely come out for a game and feel out their opponent. Instead, they begin with the attitude that they want to punch out the opposition.

The Los Angeles Clippers, despite playing the last of their eight-game Grammy Awards road trip, began the game against the 76ers Monday as if they were late for a Katy Perry red-carpet appearance outside their Staples Center home. They ran roughshod over the Sixers from the opening tap, got to nearly every loose ball, wreaked havoc on the defensive end and headed back to the West Coast with a thorough, 107-90 win.

"Lob City" made more than a few appearances with the usual suspects, Blake Griffin (20 points, nine rebounds) and DeAndre Jordan (eight points, 10 rebounds), on the receiving end. But for the most part, the Sixers got drilled by a blue-collar team that stalked the ball relentlessly on defense, forced 14 turnovers (10 in the first half), and shot it with deadly accuracy on the offensive end (44-for-75, 58.7 percent, an opponent season high).

The Clippers implored a defense that is not foreign to the Sixers as they ran at the ball all night. Most of the time, the subject of their attention was Jrue Holiday, who finished with 10 points on 4-for-14 shooting. Though some of their regulars did get games off during the road trip, the Clippers' exhibiting as much energy as they did after such a tough stretch seemed about as probable as the pope resigning. Oh, wait . . .

"They looked healthy, they looked good," Holiday said. "When they're clicking from every position they're a tough team. That's probably been the most difficult trap I've had to break all year. I think I made some good reads on it but the way their bigs get out there and hedge as hard as they do and they kind of zone up on the weak side. That's the kind of thing that we have to look at and just kind of get some movement over there. There's still one guy playing two guys. We just have to get a lot of movement and learn from this."

If Holiday, in particular, was looking for lessons, he needn't look past the opposing point guard as Chris Paul showed why he is still the premier point guard in the league. Paul finished with 21 points, missed just two of his 11 shots, dealt 11 assists, snared five steals and turned the ball over just once in his 25 minutes. In the first quarter, when the Clippers steamrolled to a lead as big as 14, Paul's 10 points, three assists and two steals were instrumental.

Nick Young led the Sixers with 29 points, while Holiday, Evan Turner and Jeremy Pargo each had 10. Spencer Hawes had 10 rebounds, but Lavoy Allen, who grabbed 22 in Saturday's win over Charlotte, had just two.

The loss ended a 13-game stretch for the Sixers that featured 12 at the Wells Fargo Center. They easily could have won two of their losses (to Memphis and San Antonio) and made it a very good stretch. But Monday's loss won't soon be forgotten, nor will the fact that Jason Richardson (knee) and Thaddeus Young (hamstring) were lost to injury. Richardson will have season-ending surgery on Thursday, and Young hopes to be back around the end of the month.

"There's two ways they could have come out," Turner said of the Clippers, who beat the Knicks Sunday in New York. "They could have come out flat and ready to get home, or they could have come out and do what they did. They finished off great, they played well and they rode the wave. They provide a lot of excitement, obviously. They were kind of beating us to our own spot. They were clicking on all cylinders. It was a great night for them."

If the Sixers entertained any thoughts of making it a game after trailing by 23 at the half, Los Angeles squashed them by getting up by as many as 32 in the fourth quarter.

"To me that was the most impressive performance by a team against us this year," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "Speed, size, defense, they shot the ball. Their defense was tremendous. Their bigs were so active and quick. They could get out on top of the floor, trapped pick-and-rolls, got back. They were tremendous. The credit goes to them. I told our guys to take care of the ball and we had six turnovers and gave them 10 points in the first quarter. When they're healthy, they are as good as anybody."

And health certainly is something the Sixers can't boast about having an abundance of.

Six shots

The Sixers had held their previous five foes under 90 points . . . They will play in Milwaukee on Wednesday, then get a week off for the All-Star break . . . Clippers starters Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler were out with sore lower backs.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76


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