Sixers start road trip with loss to Clippers

Posted: March 22, 2013

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Clippers were in no mood to let the recently pass-happy and offensively efficient 76ers come to the Staples Center and continue their solid brand of basketball of late.

The Clippers got shellacked in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night in Sacramento, outscored by 38-18, and in the process not only lost their composure but fell in the Western Conference playoff standings to the fourth seed.

So the Clippers did what good teams do, they took their frustration out on the next opponent and beat the Sixers, 101-72.

Though they scored only 72 points in losing their 14th consecutive road game, the Sixers' offense still continued to move the ball well and found open shots for much of the night. Problem was they couldn't make many, shooting a dismal 29-for-79 from the floor (36.7 percent). And while the Clippers didn't shoot the ball very well early, they vastly improved as the game wore on, got a boost by getting a bunch of extra possessions on offensive rebounds and from their usual high-flying, rim-attacking display.

After a first quarter in which the score was knotted at 20-20, the Clippers went on a 46-26 run over the next quarter-and-a-half to bust open a 20-point lead on their way to avenging an uncharacteristic loss the previous night.

Chris Paul led Los Angeles (47-22) with 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds, while Caron Butler added 14 and Willie Green 13.

"With any team you look at it that way, any team that's on a losing streak or has lost a game the night before you look at that and you say, 'Aw, man, they're going to come out here and try to smack us in the mouth early,' " said Thaddeus Young, who finished with 13 points and eight rebounds after picking up two quick fouls to start the game and missing most of the first quarter. The Clippers didn't do the smacking early, though they certainly got in their fair share after the first.

Spencer Hawes collected 16 points and seven each of rebounds and assists, while Evan Turner scored 12.

"Chris Paul is a magician with the ball and he knows where he wants to get on the floor to run their pick and rolls," said Doug Collins, whose team fell to 26-41. "And the lower they get their pick-and-rolls is when they set you up for all those dunks. They get you deep on the floor, now what happens when they're rolling, their big guys are getting the ball on what I call the launching pad, he's at the rim. You have to be very sharp with your rotations. A lot of times during a game you can rotate and get your feet outside the circle. Against this team, you have to get outside of the lane because their big guys are going to take off and go to the rim."

They did that, highlighted by two tosses from Blake Griffin (seven points, nine rebounds, six assists) to DeAndre Jordan that resulted in violent dunks. It is the most spectacular of the Clippers' arsenal, but certainly not their only weapon.

"They average almost 10 steals a game which leads to layups and dunks," said Collins. "Chris Paul just picks you apart. And they have three-point shooting. So you've got to be able to Matt Barnes, Caron Butler, Jamal Crawford - those guys can all shoot the ball. So they have the dunkers and the rollers at the rim and they have a brilliant playmaker and they have shooting. They can attack in a lot of different ways."

Paul particularly has gotten the better of Jrue Holiday this season. In the first meeting between the two, also a Clippers win, Paul shot 9-for-11 and scored 21 points, dealt 11 assists and had five steals. Holiday that night struggled through a 4-for-14, 10-point game. Wednesday, he again played poorly, with just two points on 1-for-8 shooting.

"Turnovers just killed us," Collins said. "They scored 24 points off them, had 13 steals. We were hanging around for a while and then the turnovers were the deciding factor."

The last time the Sixers won a road game was at the Staples Center on Jan. 1 when they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers. The arena wasn't so kind Wednesday. The agitated Clippers had everything to do with that.

Sixshots

The Clippers were without starting shooting guard Chauncey Billups, who pulled a groin in Tuesday's loss at Sacramento. His place in the starting lineup was taken by former Sixer Willie Green . . . The Sixers flew to Denver after the game and will face the red-hot Nuggets at 9 p.m. Thursday. Denver has won 13 in a row.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: philly.com/Sixerville

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