Cavaliers Add To Clippers' Frustration
January 22, 2015
By Steven Lieberman
The Clippers failed another mid-term exam on Friday. This time, the “professor” was league superstar LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers who ended up with 32 points and 11 rebounds to lead his team to victory, 126-121.
LeBron’s “assistant professor” Kyrie Irving ended up with a team-best 37 points and also put on a show much to the dismay of the Clippers fans.
This contest was again an indication of what the Clippers need to do to beat the top teams in the league, which continues to be their Achilles heel.
And it also wasn’t a great welcoming party for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers’ 22 year-old son Austin. He got 11:32 minutes of playing time coming off the bench and ended up with no points on four attempts, one foul, one assist and one turnover.
After the game Austin talked about his debut performance.
“I was nervous, trying to fit in instead of just play the game,” he said. “My biggest mistake was being tentative…I am usually aggressive. I was thinking too much. I’m going to watch film and pick it up.”
Before the game, Austin mentioned how excited he is about the opportunity to play for a great team and will maintain a professional coach/player relationship with his dad on the court. His mom approved, but is a bit worried about potential conflicts regarding nepotism, but both Austin and Doc made it clear that will not be a problem.
Doc also said that all of the assistant coaches think his son is a good fit for the team.
Blake Griffin, who led the Clippers with 34 points and 10 rebounds, agreed after the game. “We’re all grown men,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about what we say to Austin because we don’t talk behind our coaches’ back anyway.”
Griffin also made mention that the Clippers play good in stretches but have to be more consist.
When Austin gets acclimated he is looking forward to using his skills on defense, being a physical force and helping the second unit be successful.
Before the game, Doc said the Cavs are better than their record and the deepest and most talented team in the NBA. And after the loss here’s what he had to say.
“We need better defense and our offense could have been better. We didn’t play at a great pace and it seemed like they (Cavs) scored every time down. We couldn’t get into a rhythm and had no margin of error. They made us pay for everything.”
Doc assigned Matt Barnes to guard LeBron, but he still scored. Nobody could stop him.
Clippers floor general Chris Paul ended up with 15 points and 14 assists, but is still frustrated with all the turnovers which lead to fast-break, easy points for the opponent. And that was the case against the Cavs. They converted 13 turnovers into 21 points.
The fourth period was their downfall with the Cavs scoring 34 points to the Clippers 26. They are going to have to find a way to close out games.
After the game, LeBron summed up why he had such a good game.
“I trust my teammates and read the defense well.”
And that is the equation that wins games.
So the Clippers search for answers will continue and how they can beat the top teams in the league.