The Los Angeles Clippers expect to compete for an NBA title this year. Anything short for a team headlined by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George is frankly disappointing.
That makes today's game a legitimate shocker. At home against the Dallas Mavericks, L.A. fell 124-73, a 51-point loss. That kind of margin is usually reserved for an ACC power facing a foe from the SoCon.
Leonard was out for this game after the scary injury he suffered against the Denver Nuggets on Christmas night. Losing to Luke Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in that situation isn't the end of the world. You can't come out the way the Clippers did though, that is beyond embarrassing.
The Mavericks led L.A. 77-27 after the first half. The Clippers were only outscored by a point in the second half, but the damage had been done long before. After the game, Paul George took responsibility for what transpired. George led the team with 15 points, but was just 4-for-13 from the floor, and went 0-for-6 from three-point range.
Serge Ibaka had 13 points on 6-of-11 from the field, and Ivica Zubac scored 10 points on just four shots. No other Clipper reached double-digits. The Dallas Mavericks, meanwhile, shot over 49-percent from the field and hit 24-of-27 from the free throw line. Doncic scored 24 to lead all scorers, but it was a balanced effort, with 13 different players scoring on the day. The Mavs picked up their first win of the year, while the Los Angeles Clippers suffered their first loss, after beating the Lakers and Nuggets—two of the best teams in the Western Conference—to begin this season. They've looked solid ahead of this game. They better hope this was just a crazy blip, and not a sign of things to come. [
Paul George takes blame for the loss: "I take full responsibility. Tough game... I take full ownership of that. Our group will be ready... We got our butts kicked... We wasn't ready, wasn't prepared, not from the plan, being ready to go... that's on me."
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) December 27, 2020