Clippers Fight Hard, Fall 121-114 to Miami Heat
The LA Clippers once again found themselves staring at a big deficit on Friday night, with this one coming against the Miami Heat. With the deficit getting to as many 24-points, the Clippers once again refused to quit. They trimmed it to as close as six in the late minutes of the fourth quarter, but Miami was able to make shots down the stretch, to eliminate any possibility of another Clippers’ comeback.
As has become a trend during this road trip, it was the Clippers’ bench that dug the team out of a hole that the starters created. Each Clippers starter posted a negative plus/minus, and each Clippers bench player posted a positive plus/minus. While this stat is not always indicative of how well a player is performing, when applied to entire units, it is usually pretty telling. The Clippers’ bench brought a level of intensity that their starting unit did not.
Eric Bledsoe was big off the bench for the Clippers, putting up 19 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals in his 27 minutes off the bench. Ty Lue said that Bledsoe lived in the paint all game, and helped provide a spark off the bench. In his return to Miami, Justise Winslow also had a great game, tallying a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Winslow was a team-high +15, and Ty Lue emphasized how solid he was, citing his chemistry with Luke Kennard as a big development for the Clippers.
Luke Kennard had his third-straight 20-point game in this one, putting up 23 points and 6 rebounds on 5/11 from deep. Because the Clippers are without their top-end talent, Kennard is receiving a large amount of defensive attention; however, he is seemingly unfazed. His three-point shooting has ranked right atop the NBA all season long, and will likely only become easier once players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George make their way back to the team.
For Miami, they were unsurprisingly led by Jimmy Butler. While Jimmy was initially a game-time decision, he played 37 minutes and logged 26 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds. As he usually does, Butler dictated Miami’s offense, and was able to create good looks for himself and his teammates. Once of these teammates who was a beneficiary of Butler’s creation, was Gabe Vincent. A big reason why the Clippers got down by 23, was Vincent’s red hot shooting from distance. Converting on 7/12 three-point attempts, Vincent finished with 23 points in the win.
All things considered, the Clippers have had a successful road trip thus far. While on the losing end of this matchup against the Heat, the team continues to play hard, and have certainly overachieved without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.