When the Clippers arrived here on Tuesday afternoon, they weren’t just thinking about the open shots they missed or the pressure on defense that Minnesota was putting on.
There was a real feeling that even though only six games out of 82 were played, time was ticking to rectify the situation before their record got too dire and the gap between them and the playoff contenders widened.
“We never wanted to be 1-4,” said security guard Reggie Jackson. “We knew it was not the time to panic. But yes, it’s definitely time to fix it quickly and step on the gas. ”
Circumstances were conducive to the beginning. No Marcus Morris. No, Kawhi Leonard. There is no Serge Ibak. However, with so many returns, there was no excuse for games in which the Clippers’ offense had stalled or had no rebounds. Less than two weeks after the seven-month regular season, and despite talk of maintaining a long-term perspective, there was a need for a team with the ultimate conference standards.
“We have to start winning games, we have to start picking up steam,” said star Paul George. “At some point, everything must change for us. We are not a young team, we are not a team that, you know, “Let’s just wait for the guys to come back.” It’s time for us. “
If they play the way they did in the stretches of Wednesday’s 126-115 win against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, they could be fast.
With 32 points on 18 shots, Paul George continued his hot start, averaging 28.9 points in seven games. On the night of 39 degrees in the third quarter, George fanned himself after stepping back from Jaden McDaniels in the bar, then taking a long step back over the three-point arc and shooting.
“He’s cool,” said teammate Terence Mann. “It will stay hot. It was hot all year round.
In the second half, George hit the back of his head on the court, falling after a rebound, then managed to get to his feet just in time to absorb the 6’11 and 250lb barrel Karl. Anthony Towns.
“As far as his performance is concerned, it is out of the charts,” said coach Tyrone Liu.
But the news was not that George remained a versatile Clippers engine (3-4). The fact is that after three games in which they scored only 79, 92 and 99 points, the Clippers woke up not only because of their star. With 21 three-pointers and 36 tries, he only recorded 13th Time in NBA history when a team scored at least 35 three-pointers and shot better than 58%.
The first three-pointer was made by Reggie Jackson. And the second thing. He made seven of his nine, after coming in just 16 of 55 from the start of the season to continue the turn that started with Monday’s decisive punch to beat Oklahoma City, and Liu’s almost week-long strategic move to move him. lead ball carrier to engage him in the attack.
Nicholas Batum scored six of eight three-pointers, finishing with 20 points, and Luke Kennard made a couple of important defensive moves to prevent Minnesota from returning in the fourth quarter. Patrick Beverly slapped Kennard on the arm before passing into the penalty area, committing a technical foul. When Beverly lined up to make a second pass at goal, Kennard gave him a cross, which resulted in Batum’s dunk and a 10-point lead four minutes before the game.
The Clippers’ single area improvements have masked areas that serve as a reminder that this two-game winning streak can be fragile.
They made 21 withdrawals, which Minnesota (3-4) turned into 30 points. Their stand has yet to find the perfect calibration. Their depth is not bottomless. Terence Mann fell hard on his tailbone and was still sore after the game. And the Los Angeles game at the end of the second and fourth quarters, 12 and 14 points ahead, could not decisively throw Minnesota away with the absence of one starter (D’Angelo Russell) and another (Anthony Edwards), whose explosive athleticism was not the same after. returning to the game in the third quarter after a short limp.
Only two teams achieved higher turnover rates than the Timberwolves, and their pressure was a factor, but many of the Clippers’ mistakes were their own hands, including some of George’s decisions that led to a season-high eight revs.
“We need to take something out, and we just need to be prepared for their pressure,” said George.
The arena, which was lifeless to 14 in the fourth quarter, was shaking from a deficit of five and two minutes before the game. Fans stamped their feet as Jackson lost a drop in the paint, another preventable turn seemed to be within walking distance.
Instead, Jackson saw a gap in defense during the spin and saw a blue jersey fill it up briefly. He had enough strength to throw the bounce towards the open man. Seeing that it was Batum, Jackson said that he thought to himself: “This is a game.”
Another game that Cars needed so much.