LOS ANGELES — The LA Clippers got out to a quick start Sunday against the Indiana Pacers, but it was fool’s gold as they went on to give up a 16-point first-half lead to lose 111-104 in what is a huge loss considering the Western Conference playoff race.
The Pacers extended their recent win streak to five games, now 3-0 on their California swing. The Clippers now sit three games behind the eighth and final playoff spot.
“It’s difficult, but at the end of the day we need to stay with it to see what we can get. We need every single game,so this loss hurts, the last one hurt,” Tobias Harris said. “I thought at the beginning of this game we put good effort into it to get where we needed to go. In the second quarter, we broke down and I thought they did a good job of capitalizing on the different scenarios. They made shots in the fourth and it was tough to get ourselves a lead there.”
Harris led the way for the Clippers with 21 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Lou Williams scored 20 points off the bench, 15 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Victor Oladipo dominated the game for Indiana with 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting, 12 assists and five steals in 38 minutes of action.
“It has been difficult before tonight, so this one doesn’t hurt more than the ones that we lost last week or the week before that,” Williams said. “We have been in critical mode for a few weeks now. So we lose this one and it hurts, obviously, but we don’t put more emphasis on this one more than the others.”
The Pacers ended the first half on a 19-4 run to make it 510-50 at the break, erasing a 16-point Clippers lead. Oladipo had 11 at halftime.
“It was tough, they had a great start and we kind of started off a little slow, but we regrouped in the second quarter and things started grooving for us,,” Oladipo said of the first half. “We settled down, regrouped, got our legs under us and started being effective.”
The Clippers have now last back-to-back games.
“Listen we shot 51 percent from the field, so offensively if you score 104 and shoot 51 percent,” Doc Rivers said. “They just got more possessions. I thought that they came up with the loose balls, the offensive rebounds, that was a huge one, led to a flagrant and possession. Those are the plays that the end of a game that you have to make. I just thought they made the plays.”