Los Angeles Clippers: 3 Takeaways From Comeback Win

March 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) is congratulated by forward Wesley Johnson (33) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) after drawing a foul against Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
March 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) is congratulated by forward Wesley Johnson (33) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) after drawing a foul against Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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March 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) is congratulated by forward Wesley Johnson (33) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) after drawing a foul against Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
March 2, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) is congratulated by forward Wesley Johnson (33) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) after drawing a foul against Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

These Clippers have heart and believe in each other

The best way to measure a team’s belief in themselves, mental toughness, and unity is to watch them when faced with adversity.

In the past, that wouldn’t bode very well for the Clippers, who have too often been on the wrong side of comebacks.

This Clippers team could’ve easily have just given up and started looking ahead after playing terribly in the first half and failing to make up much ground despite shooting the ball pretty well in the third quarter.

Instead, they chose to fight back. The bench survived the beginning of the fourth quarter with Kevin Durant on the floor for the entire fourth and Russell Westbrook playing the final 9:07 of the fourth quarter. When DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick joined Chris Paul on the floor with just over six minutes left, the lead was down to 14.

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The bench may not have dominated or won the game, but they won the Clippers a few minutes that they shouldn’t have won with Durant and Westbrook on the floor. Pablo Prigioni and Wesley Johnson were instrumental in creating turnovers and getting some fast break points. Their scrappy play set the tone for the fourth quarter that the Clippers weren’t going down without a fight.

Another great sign from the Clippers was a belief in each other that came from Chris Paul. One habit that star players tend to have when they’re down is a tendency to play hero-ball to get their team back in the game. While they mean well, it often works the other way and turns off teammates from playing hard and feeling involved.

Paul went the other way and took over the game while allowing his teammates to succeed. Paul had five assists in the final quarter and continued to pass to Wesley Johnson, who started the game off terribly. Johnson hit back-to-back three pointers that cut a 14-point deficit to only eight.

One of the reasons that the Clippers have struggled in the past in key moments is that they’ve abandoned their team offense and opted to run isolation plays for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or Jamal Crawford. When the Clippers are at their best, it’s because they’re moving the ball and finding the open man.

Paul and the Clippers changed their approach in the big moments and had massive success. Hopefully, the Clippers have learned their lesson and will stick with the team offense in key moments.

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