Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have earned their reputation of giving up leads and not being able to close out games in killer-instinct fashion.
On Thursday, the Clippers hosted the undefeated and defending-champion Golden State Warriors. The Clippers twice led by 23 points in the second quarter and led by 10 with 5:54 to play, only to be outscored 25-8 down the stretch as the Warriors came away with a 124-117 victory.
There is no shame in losing to the Warriors, who are now 13-0. It’s the way the Clippers (6-5) lost, totally void of any execution during winning time.
Paul Pierce, who played for coach Doc Rivers in Boston – the two won a title there in 2008 – intimated this has to stop.
“We have to do a better job at playing 48 minutes,” said Pierce, who scored six points in nearly 32 minutes. “That’s two games in a row versus these guys where we have had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. We gave up our lead, so we have to do a better job on defense.”
The Warrioirs shot 52.1 percent overall, 56.7 percent (17 of 30) from 3-point range. They shot 8 of 9 (88.9 percent) from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. But it was more than that, Pierce said.
“We have to do a better job on offense and trusting one another,” he said. “You can’t give up 40 points in the fourth quarter versus the best team in basketball. Simple and plain, we have to do a better job at finishing.”
The Warriors outscored the Clippers 39-26 in the fourth.
Two and a half weeks ago, on Nov. 4 in Oakland, the Clippers led the Warriors by 10 in the fourth quarter and lost by four (112-108).