Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings: Incredible Game, Incredible Shot-making, Incredible Collapse

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Well, that was some basketball game.

Watching it live it became apparent at about midway into the first overtime that this was something historical. The shot making was incredible. The resiliency of the Sacramento Kings was unbelievable and the collapse of the Clippers, not just once or twice but three times, was shocking. Now that we have all had a day to get over the emotion of watching a game like that, regardless of which team you were rooting for, lets take a look back.

Shot Making

Defense in the NBA is not dead. Blocking out might be, but teams still play good defense when they need to. Especially those teams with Championship aspirations. The problem with defense in the NBA is that it is moot when teams are shooting well. You can put a hand up, hip check, grab, push, etc, but when a team is hot offensively those shots are going to drop. In short, good offense bests good defense most of the time. In this game, both teams were ridiculously efficient offensively.

The Sacramento Kings, which by the way are legitimate contenders this season – no fluke, shot 43.9% from deep and 58.6% overall. They made 18 3-point shots and shot 80% from the free throw line. The Los Angeles Clippers lost the game after scoring 175 points while shooting 57.8% from deep and 60.2% overall. They made 26 3-point shots and shot 86.1% from the free throw line. The Clippers were home too with a very energetic crowd behind them.

Let that sink in. The home team scored 175 points, out-shot the visitors from deep (while taking and making more shots), from the free throw line and overall and still lost the game.

Craziness!

Clippers Collapse 1.0

Clippers fans are a tough bunch. Longtime Clippers fans are literally indestructible! They have been through so much. I am not here to pile on, so please look away if you don’t think you can handle the detail that is to come.

The home team led the game in the 4th quarter with 4:25 left to play by 14 points. At the 1:22 minute mark the Kings had trimmed that lead to a single point! Between the 1:22 and 4:25 markers Clippers offensive possessions included:

  • A bad pass that was stolen and led to a Kings bucket
  • A missed layup
  • An out of bounds lost ball turnover
  • Another bad pass that was stolen and led to another Kings bucket
  • Yet another bad pass that led to another Kings bucket
  • A missed 3-point shot

Over six possessions the Clippers got off two shots, neither of which fell. They turned the ball over every other time. There is no way to sugarcoat that, it was a monumental collapse. Yet, they still had a three point lead with 8.1 seconds to go after some free throws.

I have always been on the fence about fouling a team when you are up three with seconds left. Force them to the line where the most they can do is get to within a point or try that tired “miss the second free throw” trick that rarely works. I sorta consider myself a basketball purist and feel like a foul there is cheating the game a bit. But, when a game means something though, you have to foul in that situation. The Clippers didn’t and Malik Monk made a three to tie the game.

I apologize again Clipper Nation!

Clippers Collapse 2.0

In the first overtime the Clippers led by six points with 3:04 left. Their next possessions went like this:

  • Missed floater
  • Offensive foul turnover
  • Two free throws
  • Missed 3-point shot
  • Bad pass turnover

The Kings once again took advantage of the Clippers generosity and tied the game, again. It was here that Clippers fans began to blame Coach Lue. While it is true that good offense beats good defense, it is also true that some players are better at defense than others. For reasons that left some Clippers fans scratching their heads the coaching staff opted to keep strong offensive players in the game while the better defensive minded ones watched from the bench.


They did, they made the same mistake twice!

Clippers Collapse 3.0

Guess what the Clippers did in the second overtime? Give up? They led! Once again the team gave their fans hope by going up by six points with 1:57 left to play. Then guess what they did? Well, you know:

  • Missed a floating jump shot
  • Bad pass turnover
  • Lost ball turnover
  • Missed jump shot
  • Missed 3-point shot

In fact, despite De’Aaron Fox doing all he could to gift the Clippers the game with two late game turnovers of his own, the Clippers failed to score after taking that six point lead in the second overtime. There is plenty of blame to go around with most of the disgust pointed at Coach Lue, Mason Plumlee and Paul George. But in the end, it was a team effort, a group collapse.

A game like this can negatively impact a team with whispers of blame and what might have been creeping into the locker-room. I don’t think that will happen to this veteran Clippers team, but it might. It will be very interesting to see how they recover from this over their remaining 20 games.

They made the same mistake, they didn’t deserve the win.

thePeachBasket

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