On Monday, the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the heavily undermanned Brooklyn Nets by a score of 124-116. The game was everything but attractive, but the Clippers were able to walk away victorious from Barclays Center.
Paul George led the way with 29 points, Kawhi Leonard added 24 points, and Ivica Zubac finished with a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers finished their six-game road trip against opponents from the Eastern Conference with a record of 4-2 and improved to 31-26 overall in the season.
However, the most interesting aspect of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks was who the Brooklyn Nets were unable to use in their lineup.
According to a source by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Clippers made an offer to acquire Irving that included Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, a future first-round selection, and two swaps involving first-round picks; however, Brooklyn opted to trade with the Mavericks rather than the Clippers.
In addition to Irving and Morris, the Nets were without Kevin Durant, Seth Curry, and Ben Simmons as they dealt with injuries that kept them from playing. This resulted in a great deal of criticism being directed on a Clippers team that had been down by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter before rallying away:
Thomas was thrust into a more prominent position due to the absence of a large number of key players, and he reacted by unleashing a magnificent performance that included the scoring of 47 points. Add to it the fact that Edmond Sumner, Nic Claxton, and Royce O’Neale were there to provide assistance, and it’s clear to see why Brooklyn stayed competitive throughout the whole game.
After that, it went on a tear in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points with significant contributions coming from Sumner, Joe Harris, and Claxton. Thomas had a dunk and a three during this stretch of play. At that moment, the Nets had an eight-point edge, and the atmosphere inside Barclays Center became electric.
Despite this, the Clippers should be given some credit for coming back to win the game. Leonard seized control for a while, and a critical and-one basket from Nicolas Batum in the game’s closing minute turned out to be one of the most crucial plays of the contest.
The next game for Los Angeles will be on Wednesday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. In this game, Los Angeles will likely have to play better than it did for the most of the game against a Nets team that was significantly outmatched.