Clippers find cohesion with second straight against Spurs

Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles claimed its first road win of the season in San Antonio, 124-99.

After winning by 40 points about three weeks ago, the Los Angeles Clippers gave no quarter to the San Antonio Spurs in their 25-point win Monday night.

Los Angeles outscored the Spurs throughout all four quarters (33-27, 33-28, 25-22, 33-22) to advance to 5-7 on the season and force San Antonio to suffer their ninth straight loss this year.

The dire victory comes after the Clippers went through a rut of their own with new acquisition James Harden. Since losing five straight earlier in November and experimenting with lineups, the Clippers now initiate a win streak with a seemingly tighter offensive demeanor. 

Here are three takeaways from Monday night’s game against San Antonio:

Daniel Theis goes off in his second game as a Clipper

When backup center Mason Plumlee suffered an MCL sprain earlier this month there was lingering concern about the Clippers depth with centers. Just when it seemed Ivica Zubac would be facing the brunt on defense, Daniel Theis arrived to give some breathing room.

In Monday’s win both Theis and Zubac shone in their roles throughout the first half as both centers combined for 15 points with 10 rebounds. 

For Theis, it only got better from there. After finishing the first half at +16, he went on to conclude the game with 19 points in 21 minutes off the bench. Theis also added seven rebounds, two assist and one steal towards the Clippers’ victory.

Initially after Theis’s trade broke, fans on social media were unsure if he was the hero they wanted. After tonight’s much-needed win, he proved to be the one Clipper Nation needed. The team is now 2-0 in the Daniel Theis era.

Offensive roles appear more defined after lineup shifts

Praises for Russell Westbrook poured in from across the league last week after news broke he requested to play with the second unit. Since granting his request the Clippers have won two consecutive with a seemingly more cohesive offense. 

Harden and Westbrook combined for 16 assists without a turnover to contribute to the team’s collective 30 on the night. As a squad, the Clippers lead the league in average steals per game with 10, and in their most recent triumph over the Spurs they collected a whopping 15. 

Aside from Harden and Westbrook, not one other Clipper had a negative net rating. Paul George finished with the highest at +23 while Zubac had the lowest of the main unit at +4.

Paul George dominates in fourth quarter

George entered the fourth on 6-of-7 shooting with 14 points, then doubled down and finished the quarter with 28. He added five rebounds, six assists and one steal.

Before his grand performance Monday, George opened up on his podcast, “Podcast P with Paul George”, to share how his team’s loss streak affected all of the players.

“We honestly enjoy trying to figure this out. We realize the big picture of what this will be if all 4 of us can pull this off and do something special.”

Up next, San Antonio has the chance for a rematch as soon as Wednesday. For the Clippers, Wednesday’s game is just the start of a packed next 12 days as they have eight games scheduled ahead.