It’s the largest deficit at halftime in NBA history. After 24 minutes of play, the Dallas Mavericks were up 50 points, 77-27. A team that has building chemistry and grit as their no.1 priority should take a beating like that seriously. At moments, it was even worse than the numbers implicate. The Mavericks had more open threes than at shootaround.
It seems Paul George didn’t give one of his famous inspirational locker room speeches because the game didn’t end well either. The Clippers didn’t come out and say, “let’s win the second half; we can’t go out like this.” They lost by 51 points, making it the worst loss in Clippers history.
As you may suspect, the Mavericks starters didn’t play a lot in the second half – everyone that dressed for the game got double-digit minutes except Tyrell Terry, who played 9 minutes. That means the Clippers lost the 2nd half by a point playing the Mavericks bench guys. With Kawhi out of the game, Paul George took responsibility for the beatdown.
You didn’t really think Pandemic P took responsibility, did you? Of course Santa did it! He takes responsibility, BUT it was Santa, Christmas, food, wine, the weather, and let’s not forget about the Grinch. In case you were wondering, the Mavericks did not just play on the road for Christmas, but this game was a road game for the Mavs as well.
I get it, everyone’s going to ask about his stats, and they’re not pretty – 15/2/4 with 4 turnovers (4/13 from the field, 0/6 for three). I don’t really care about these stats; everyone has an off night. The way the Clippers lost to Denver, and after all the reporting about his (lack of) leadership and obviously ingrained inability to take responsibility, there was only one stat I looked at – minutes.
Paul George played 24 minutes last night. It should’ve been 40. This was the first preseason in a long time he was healthy (as George keeps reminding us), it was the third game of the season, and they didn’t really have a deep playoff run either. Down 50 at halftime, George should’ve told Ty Lue he’s playing the entire second half. Dive for balls, box out, set screens – this was an opportunity to take it on the chin and set the foundation for a new culture of accountability.
Instead, George was on the bench letting his teammates deal with it. The same way he and Kawhi did with post-game comments last year. Between building character and managing load, the Clippers opted for the second one. Reminds me of a team from last year.