Clippers discover irony in scoring struggles earlier than dropping to Jazz

The Clippers level guard whipped out an invisible dictionary.

How may it’s attainable, by means of 9 video games to begin the season, that these Clippers have been final within the NBA in factors per recreation? In offensive effectivity? These Clippers — even persevering with to overlook Kawhi Leonard — with Paul George, John Wall, Norman Powell and a crew of veteran expertise able to going for 30 factors any evening?

So guard Reggie Jackson, who had struggled to a 36% taking pictures begin from the sector this season, put it extravagantly within the locker room earlier than Sunday evening’s recreation at Area.

“Definitely, it’s an oxymoron,” Jackson mentioned. “All the talent we’ve acquired, all of the offensive firepower we have, we [have] one of the worst offensive ratings. So it’s just a little ironic.”

The irony continued Sunday evening, the Clippers failing to get sufficient going as soon as once more, falling to 5-5 after a 110-102 loss to the Utah Jazz during which they bricked the deep ball time and time once more. The loss ended a three-game successful streak.

“We’re trending in the right direction offensively — [but] eight for 33 is not going to get it done from the three-point line,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue mentioned.

The Clippers have been 0 for 10 on three-point tries within the fourth quarter, as Wall identified after the sport in a locker-room dialog with George, who slumped in his chair and groaned.

George had 34 factors, Marcus Morris Sr. added 18 and three different Clippers scored in double figures. However Wall was 0 for 4 from three, Powell continued a gradual begin with six factors, and bounce photographs clanked off the iron within the fourth quarter because the upstart Jazz improved to 8-3.

There are fairly a couple of cooks within the kitchen for the Clippers, which is large on paper, however as gamers shift out and in of the lineup and the crew continues to overlook Leonard, who has no timetable for a return from knee soreness, per Lue, the amorphous rotations have “created a little inconsistency within our offense,” George mentioned.

“I’m very optimistic this team will find our stride and start playing our best basketball,” George mentioned. “… We’re just going through those growing pains.”

Utah Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker places up a shot between Clippers middle Ivica Zubac, left, and ahead Robert Covington through the first half.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

Utah's Kelly Olynyk goes up a shot in front of Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. during the Clippers' loss Sunday.

Utah’s Kelly Olynyk goes up a shot in entrance of Clippers ahead Marcus Morris Sr. through the Clippers’ loss Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

Early in Sunday’s recreation, it appeared as if that offensive inconsistency wouldn’t matter so long as George was firing, persevering with a four-game stretch during which he has racked up at the least 28 factors each recreation.

After scoring 15 factors within the first quarter, George grabbed a rebound with the Clippers down 46-40 within the second and went to work, drawing a foul.

Then got here the smoothness, the no-sweat-handles that make George’s monster video games appear virtually easy, the blending and shaking for a hop-step floater. Then a drive into the Jazz’s Kelly Olynyk, bumping him out of the best way, ending a candy left-handed layup. Then a staredown of Olynyk, kicking out, getting a go again and burying a three-pointer on Olynyk.

Immediately, George had 24 factors with three minutes to go within the first half and the Clippers had lower their deficit to 1.

However the Jazz grabbed the momentum again with out the Clippers’ Ivica Zubac on the ground — who entered main the NBA in blocks per recreation — blitzing the rim in a fast change of tempo in a recreation during which the Clippers outscored the Jazz in factors within the paint by 26. Olynyk strayed from the three-point line for a driving layup, Collin Sexton (who completed with 22 factors) bulldozed his solution to the rim, Lauri Markkanen drew fouls on the inside. The Clippers trailed 63-56 at halftime.

Assist was on the best way. Wall, the Clippers’ greatest offseason acquisition and a onetime All-NBA power with the Washington Wizards, was pissed off by means of a lot of the evening. After which the pace that after produced nightly highlights ignited.

Because the Jazz’s taking pictures ran dry to finish the third quarter, Wall took off in transition, attacking helplessly backpedaling Jazz defenders for fairly left-handed finishes and double-clutch layups. And early within the fourth quarter, he galloped down the lane once more, circling the ball behind his again to depart Jordan Clarkson within the mud and maintaining his hand raised after a layup that put the Clippers up 93-89 with seven minutes to play.

“That’s the team we need to be,” George mentioned. “That pace, that’s what I envisioned.”

However Wall’s explosiveness was matched minutes later by Sexton, who hung for an and-one that gave the Jazz a 104-98 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

That third-quarter stretch was Wall at his finest — and the crew at theirs, George mentioned. However the Clippers haven’t discovered that gear for a full 48 minutes. And the oxymoron persists.

Up subsequent for Clippers: vs. Cleveland

When: 7:30 p.m. PST Monday

On the air: TV: Bally Sports activities SoCal, NBA TV; Radio: 570, 1220

Replace: The Cavaliers (8-1) personal the second-best document within the NBA after successful their eighth consecutive recreation Sunday, 114-100 over the Lakers. The Clippers must take care of former Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, who’s averaging 31.1 factors per recreation and seven.1 assists for Cleveland.