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Home » Clippers Defeat Nets on Road Trip, Failing to Acquire Kyrie Irving

Clippers Defeat Nets on Road Trip, Failing to Acquire Kyrie Irving

07 February 2023, Tuesday
Kyrie Irving was the player Brooklyn decided to part ways with, the guard the Clippers tried to acquire, yet the man was not present at Monday night's event, but still had an undeniable influence.
A day after the Nets opted to accept a deal proposed by Dallas in lieu of offers made by the Clippers, Lakers, and Suns, the topic of Irving remained a hot one at Barclays Center.

The guard, who had requested to be traded twice since June and been suspended in the fall, is no longer Brooklyn's concern, but instead might be a challenge for the Clippers and the other teams competing in the Western Conference who are charged with defending the combined backcourt of Irving – who Coach Tyronn Lue described as having “no offensive weaknesses” – and All-Star Luka Doncic.

The Clippers are likely to face Kyrie Irving in his Mavericks' debut Wednesday night at Arena, though Luka Doncic is not expected to play on account of a bruised heel. “Dallas has to be really thrilled to get him and it adds another guy like Kyrie to our conference, which I don't particularly like,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue. “But at the end of the day, whatever works best for Kyrie, I'm happy for him.” The Clippers went on to win 124-116 against Brooklyn.

Sources close to the NBA have indicated that the move to land Kyrie Irving in a trade to the Dallas Mavericks could present a number of problems for teams trying to limit the firepower of their all-star backcourt. Despite his rocky relations with former teams, the impact of the transfer could be felt by Dallas and opposing sides alike. The trade deadline will be Thursday, and the Irving deal has already proven to be the foremost move before then.

Coach Tyronn Lue chuckled when asked how his team will handle the newly formed duo of Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić in the Western Conference. “It’s going to be a tough challenge," he said. "Kyrie and Luka are both guys we’ve always blitzed in the past, and now they have two of them… He's a bad dude.”

Center Ivica Zubac added, “We have to figure out how to play them, but if they do, they have two amazing players. The West is getting stronger, so we have to lock in and try to stay ahead of the competition. We have to win as many games as possible and just focus on ourselves.”

Before the Los Angeles Clippers (31-26) could devise a game plan for the Dallas backcourt which will feature two All-Stars, they had to conclude their six-game trip by competing against a Brooklyn Nets roster missing its two most prominent stars - Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who are both injured, as well as Ben Simmons. Nonetheless, the Nets were surprisingly effective, hitting eight out of the first nine of their three-pointers while they scored ten points in a mere 55 seconds to almost wipe out an eleven-point deficit early in the game. 

Marcus Morris Sr., a starting Forward for the Clippers, was ejected from the game during the first half, thus forcing the Clippers' rotation to be adjusted. Luke Kennard, who had been omitted from the past two games for head coach Tyronn Lue's aversion to three-guard lineups coming off the bench, was inserted into the first quarter and ended up logging 15 minutes for three points. He was at times linked with other guards Reggie
Jackson and Norman Powell.

Lue increased the rotation to nine players for the end of the trip, in an effort to lessen the minutes of key contributors. As he made the changes, Lue kept a card handy to ensure that each player was within their minute limits. Sadly, Robert Covington was the casualty of the rotation once again and it remains to be seen if Kennard would also be excluded going forward as the team continues to use its eight-man "playoff mode" approach. Lue expressed his difficulty in continually leaving out both Kennard and Covington.

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Clippers, under the direction of head coach Tyronn Lue, needed a victory and he made it so. Lue adjusted his rotation, with Markieff Morris coming off the bench and rookie Terance Mann starting in his place. The move paid off as the Clippers defeated the Sacramento Kings 117-97. 

In the second half, Lue made another adjustment of having Mann come off the bench to start rookie guard Luke Jackson. Jackson responded with a strong performance, scoring 12 points in 27 minutes of action. The Clippers outscored the Kings by 27 points in the time that Jackson was on the court. 

The Clippers quickly regained their 11-point lead early after halftime and the move to the bench for Morris and the start for Jackson was a key factor in the victory. "We're in a situation where we've got to win games now," said Lue. "I can't play 10 guys like I was doing early on and trying to keep everybody happy. I got to — we got to — win games. And so we got a good rotation."

Brooklyn (32-21) saw Cam Thomas deliver a career-best 47 points as they scored 14 unanswered points to lead 107-99 in the fourth quarter, prompting a Clippers timeout. This marked the third straight game an opposing player scored at least 40 points against the Clippers.

In response, the Clippers went on a 9-point run, with four of those points coming from Kawhi Leonard (24 points) on a jumper and two free throws. LA utilized pick and rolls among their wings to take control, as noticed by head coach Tyronn Lue.

Leonard and George did not want to forecast how the Doncic and Irving partnership could influence the Western Conference, but George noted that based on the two stars' shared history, they have the capacity to "take a game over" and score at all three levels, as well as create plays. He concluded by adding that the real outcome of their collaboration will be visible soon. Following a 4-2 trip and having won eight of their last ten games, the Clippers hold a strong grip on the West-- however, teams such as the Mavericks are ramping up the competition.

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