The 76ers put on a show in Los Angeles Monday night, as the Clippers came close to ending their five-game slide, but ultimately came up short. The Clippers suffered another loss, 109-105, having lost their last eight of nine games and will now prepare for a tough road trip ahead.
”I like this team, we just gotta get right you know, I wanna win while we’re not right,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ”It doesn’t get any easier, we go and play on the road now and face Cleveland the first game, so we got a tough road trip coming up.”
Philadelphia’s top two young talents made their career Staple Center debuts Monday night, leaving the L.A. crowd forced to ooh and aah throughout the night, with flashy passes and powerful dunks.
Rookie forward Ben Simmons and second year center Joel Embiid, combined for 54 points and 28 rebounds, dominating the paint, as Clippers center DeAndre Jordan scored only two points on the night and even fouled out of the game.
“We’re only gonna get better,” said Simmons who mentioned how special Embiid and himself can be. “It just takes time, he’s been a real beast down in the post, unstoppable really, nobody can really guard him.
The 76ers out rebounded the Clippers 63-42 and had far better ball movement, as Philly had 27 assists compared to L.A.’s 16.
Embiid put up 32 points and 16 rebounds in a career-high 36 minutes, slowly climbing out of his limit restriction he has been forced with since last season.
Simmons who is the already a highly favored Rookie of the Year candidate, leads all rookies in points, assists and rebounds, while he averages 18 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.
“They’re two of the best players in the league already,” Sixers guard JJ Redick said. “They’re both MVP-caliber players. They’re fantastic and we’re all along for the ride.”
It was also the first game back at Staples Center for Redick, where he played the past four seasons for the Clippers, being their biggest threat from behind the arc.
Los Angeles rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half to lead by five with just two minutes to play, but the 76ers battled right back.
Robert Covington, who had a career-high 31 points, knocked a three down, his fifth of the night, giving the Sixers a two-point lead, 103-101 with 33 seconds left.
After a missed Lou Williams three-point jumper, Ben Simmons was sent to the line where he converted on both free throws, giving the 76ers a four-point cushion.
However, following the next possession, Clippers guard Austin Rivers, knocked down a three pointer of his own, closing their gap back to one, 105-104, with just under 11 seconds to play.
With LA out of timeouts, they pushed the ball up the floor but Philadelphia intentionally fouled Lou Williams, forcing him to miss his second free throw, where the Clippers had no luck of getting their own rebound, seemingly ending the game with two more made free throws my Covington.
“All it takes is one,” added Rivers who scored 11 points on the night. “We just gotta get one-win man to get this spirit back up, tonight should have been it but it wasn’t.”
“We gotta be better, just defensively, offensively, just has to be better all around, we have to give a 48-minute effort and if we do that we give ourselves a good chance to win.”
Williams had a game high 31 points, seven rebounds and six assists off the bench, and single handedly carried the Clippers late with 16 fourth-quarter points.
Blake Griffin had 29 points, but came on a 10-for-25 shooting night, while he did not score a field goal in the fourth quarter.
“I think we just go stagnant, just took bad shots, I took bad shots,” said Griffin. “I got stagnant, I just didn’t trust our offense.”
The Sixers remain in L.A. and are back in Staples Center at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to face the Lakers, while the Clippers will head to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers on Friday at 4:30 p.m.