Photo above: Chris Paul about to deliver an ally-oop to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk. (YouTube)
On Thursday Night the Nets came into Staples Center for a basketball game and basically got a clinic from the L.A. Clippers.
The crowd at Staples thought they would be treated to the skills of one of the great players in the NBA, Kevin Garnett. This is his 19th year in the league and he has made an impact wherever he’s played. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers explained his impact before the game, saying he inspired other players to be better, especially on defense. Rivers coached Garnett when they were with the Boston Celtics.
Clippers fans, which included a number of celebrities in the courtside seats, were hoping to see the All Star in action. The Nets were hoping to get their second win in a row after beating the Sacramento Kings the night before. As it turned out, Kevin Garnett sat out the night to rest.
To beat the Clippers though the Nets needed to step up their game. They needed big efforts by small forward Joe Johnson and center Brook Lopez to not only score, but slow down Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
After a very disappointing loss to the Cavaliers, the Clippers put together two wins; the first against Sacramento and the second against the Boston Celtics. They almost let the game slip away from them Monday, but the Clippers were able to hold off Boston. So on Thursday Night the Clippers were looking for the third win in a row.
Brooklyn must have known it would be a long night when they couldn’t score for the first two and a half minutes while the Clippers had six, from three different players. By the time the first quarter was over the Clippers were ahead, 34-23.
Before the game Clippers coach Doc Rivers said they needed to limit two Nets players in particular: Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. In that first quarter the two, were limited to one basket apiece.
By the end of the first half, the Clippers were 33 points ahead, 70-37 and, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had almost as many points as the entire Brooklyn team — 34. The Nets just could not contain the two big men. Jordan and Griffin combined for 11 dunks in the game.
The Nets never came close to threatening in this game.
Most telling for the Nets is that they are missing two of their best players, Deron Williams and Mirza Teletovic. Williams has been out with a rib cage injury and Teletovic was taken to the hospital during the second quarter, complaining of shortness of breath.
“He came to the bench and said something was wrong with him so he asked me to take him out,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said after the game. There’s no word on Teletovic’s condition as of now.
- UPDATE ON MIRZA TELETOVIC: Per the team’s website news, center Mirza Teletovic is out for the rest of the season due to blood clots found in his lungs.
Center Mason Plumlee had a good night for the Nets, getting 17 points. Point guard Darius Morris and center Jerome Jordan had 11 points and Jordan grabbed 11 rebounds, seven of them offensive boards. That’s more than anyone else in the game. Both Morris and Jordan are second unit players for Brooklyn so there was some good news for Nets.
The Clippers had a big night of course. Every player that suited up got on the scoreboard. Blake Griffin led all scoring with 24 points and four other Clippers finished in double figures. DeAndre Jordan had 14 plus 12 rebounds.
J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford both finished with 17 points and Glenn Davis had 10 points for the night. The coach’s son, Austin Rivers, contributed nine points and six assists.
Ball movement was a key ingredient of L.A.’s game Thursday; they had a total of 41 assists. Point guard Chris Paul had only six points, but he had 17 assists.
The final score tonight was 123-84, the largest win the Clippers have recorded this season. After the game Hollins said, “I’m glad it’s over. Nobody got hurt. When you’re down, 44 [or] 43 points, that’s ugly.”
The Clippers’ next game is Sunday in Phoenix against the Suns, a team with a winning record so L.A. can expect a tougher night.
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In related news: Power forward Blake Griffin has been selected to be a starter in the NBA All Star Game. That’s good news for the Clippers and their fans. After the game Griffin said, “I definitely don’t take it for granted. I’m very thankful for the fan votes, and humbled by it.” He added, “All-Star weekend is for the fans.”
Doc Rivers added, “It’s great for him and great for the team. He deserves it. He works, you see him in the gym every day, you saw him in the gym in the summer every day; he’s committed to being a better player. Blake’s put the work in.”
(All photos by Claudia Gestro, unless otherwise noted)
Claudia is of Peruvian and Italian descent, having been born in a small town, in the North of Peru, South America. She was raised by her grandmother from an early age, living in poverty until Claudia’s mother brought her to America. She landed in Miami, FL and started her new life, playing high school basketball and eventually becoming a United States citizen. Claudia completed her education at Florida International University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and became a model to supplement her income. Since graduating from FIU Claudia has worked with many of the Spanish Language broadcasting companies, including Telemundo, Univision and most recently Spanish Language channels on SiriusXM satellite radio and PasTV Deportes in Venezuela.She encourages you to follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Her content appears here under a shared content agreement with her Spanish television clients.