Clippers rack up more technicals than Chris Paul makes field goals in loss to Cavs
CLEVELAND -- About the only statistic the Los Angeles Clippers controlled Thursday night in Cleveland was technical fouls. They had plenty of those -- five, to be exact -- as they suffered a meltdown in a 105-94 beatdown at the hands of the Cavaliers.
"When they jumped on us early it was over," coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought you could see it in our energy and from there it was just a long game to watch."
Rivers noticed and tried his best to rile up his guys early, earning the first technical of what would be a night full of them only 10 minutes into the game with the deficit seven points.
"I haven't gotten a first-quarter technical in I don't know how long. I'd liked to have gotten two at that point. That would've been terrific," Rivers joked.
By halftime, the Cavs' lead ballooned to 23. Then during the third quarter, the Clippers' hole was as deep as 32. That third quarter was an eventful one, which further exposed a team fully frustrated by its circumstance.
Matt Barnes, who is now tied for the NBA lead with 11 technicals, was the first player to notch a technical on the night, after he and Kevin Love became tied up following a personal foul on Barnes.
Five seconds in game time later, Chris Paul got one, too.
Paul claimed the Clippers were just trying to inbound the ball quickly to get it down the floor quickly, to which referee Lauren Holtkamp said "Uh-uh" and Paul replied "Why uh-uh?" That, he said, prompted the "T."
"That's ridiculous," Paul said of the call. "If that's the case, this might not be for her."
A minute later, Holtkamp called another, this one on DeAndre Jordan after he pulled down a rebound, scored a bucket, then could be heard on the TV mics saying a profane word in response to not receiving an and-one.
"I guess she thought I was talking to her," Jordan said. "She made a call. The other refs, I talked to them and they disagreed with it, so hopefully it'll be rescinded."
Completing the circle at the 7:17 mark in the period, Barnes got his second and an early trip to the locker room.
"We can't have that," Jordan said. "We need Matt to guard the best player on that team."
Instead, Dahntay Jones drew the task of taking on LeBron James, who finished with 23 points in 28 minutes.
Three Clippers -- Barnes, Jordan and Blake Griffin -- now sit in the top 10 for most technicals this season, combining for 27.
"I guess it's a reputation we've earned," Barnes said. "It's upon us to do a better job at trying to control our emotions, but you can't play this game at this level without emotion."
To further exemplify the futility, take this stat: Los Angeles compiled more technicals as a team (five) than Paul made field goals (4-of-14 shooting, 10 points).
It was that kind of night for the Clippers, who pulled their starters in the third quarter.
"I should've pulled them at halftime. Honestly, I really should have. That was on me," Rivers said. "I thought about it 'cause I didn't think we had great energy."
The Cavs out-ran, out-rebounded, out-hustled and obtrusively obliterated Los Angeles from wire to wire.
"We clearly were not ready for Cleveland's intensity," Rivers said. "I thought basically the entire game they were the first-strike team and we were the retaliating team."
By the fourth, the outcome was a mere formality, so no more raging tempers or technicals -- just the technicality of the clock winding down to make a Cavs victory official.
Some garbage time cut the final margin of victory, or "The Diff" as it's called at The Q, to 11, which made the result seem far less embarrassing than it actually was for the Clippers.
Thursday night marks the 12th straight win for Cleveland, a streak it began out West with a sweep of the Los Angeles teams.
"Didn't everybody already anoint 'em? I thought they were anointed already," Rivers said of the Cavs. "I'm more worried about the West. We would love to see Cleveland. That would mean we're doing pretty well in the playoffs."
With one loss in Hollywood and another in "Hollywood with snow," as Sixers head coach Brett Brown called Cleveland earlier this week, the Clippers probably would be a bit more pleased to see someone else way down the line.