Culver City Observer -

Clippers Explain Faults After Losing

 

January 8, 2015

Chris Paul

By Steven Lieberman

Observer Reporter

The Clippers (23-12) failed their mid-term test on Monday by losing to the Atlanta Hawks (26-8), best record in the Eastern Conference, 107-98. The Hawks went 18-2 in the month of December.

This contest was an indication of what the Clippers need to do to beat the top teams in the league, which has been their Achilles heel. They now have a 7-10 record against winning teams.

Clippers team leader Chris Paul, gave praise to the Hawks after the game.

"It is a really good team we lost to, make no mistake about that. They have five guys that space the floor, guards that play the pick and roll, they share the ball, and that makes them tough to defend. We were late on rotations."

Paul then explained what the remedy is to what ails the Clippers.

"We just have to be more consistent and not turn the ball over so much. We play in stretches, but good teams do what they do both defensively and offensively. We have not done that."

Turnovers give the opponent easy shots and the Clippers had 21, gifting the Hawks 23 points. Hawks floor skipper and player of the week Jeff Teague, took advantage of the opportunity by scoring 20 points with nine assists and four steals. They had 13 steals to the Clippers' six. Steals also lead to easy points.

Before the game Clippers coach Doc Rivers knew the Hawks were going to be a challenge.

"With an 18-2 record in December, right now I feel that the Hawks are the best team in the NBA. They are deep and have 11 guys that work together and are all in good shape."

And after the game Rivers illuminated what went wrong.

"We missed wide open shots and forced a lot of passes leading to turnovers. The Hawks have an unshakable confidence."

Mike Budenholzer, named NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the month in December, summed up before the game why the Hawks have been so successful.

"Our players made a commitment to be better on defense."

Doc Rivers

And good defense is what usually wins games. Rivers said that his bench players are too offensive-minded and need to be better on defense.

One bright spot of the game, although achieved during a losing cause, was Clippers center DeAndre Jordan becoming the first player in NBA history with 15 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and 100 % field goal percentage in a single game.

After the game he said he will probably get a text from his grandma congratulating him, but also said this game was a "wake-up call" about how they are competing against top teams.

Clippers power forward Blake Griffin was in agreement. "We're searching for answers and how we can be better," he said.

 

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