LOS ANGELES – The Clippers need to be more in sync, more focused and more stubborn, yeah, especially more stubborn, the team too often lacking a real shut-down defender.
One like, say, Tyronn Lue, who, at age 39 and seven years removed from his most recent NBA game, absolutely throttled the league’s best player Saturday, holding LeBron James without a point.
In fact, it was an embarrassing triple-single for James at Staples Center – zero assists and zero rebounds, as well, which was rather predictable given that other zero for him in the box score, minutes played.
Lue benched an otherwise healthy James and also prohibited Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love from participating, Cleveland’s “Big Three” decidedly less imposing when cast as the “Big None.”
Minus their vital organs, the Cavaliers not surprisingly keeled over, scoring a robust 31 points in the first half of a 108-78 loss that, based on James’ repeated reactions on the bench, was a real laugher.
But, hey, on this mostly awful, largely unentertaining night, the entire game – just like LeBron himself – was rendered pointless.
It is a maddening fact of the modern-day NBA, this practice of holding out top players in the interest of resting them instead. Doc Rivers did the same thing with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on Thursday in Denver.
But that doesn’t make the situation any more right, particularly to all those fans who showed up Saturday wearing LeBron jerseys, knowing this weekend marks his only L.A. appearance all season.
The Cavaliers will hang around to play at Staples Center again tonight, against the Lakers, who could lose to any team Cleveland chooses to throw out there, including the Browns.
Me? I can joke about James sitting, like how the box score notation “DNP” actually stands for Did Not Perspire.
But I paid nothing to be inside Staples Center on a night that officially was the toughest ticket to a Clippers home game all season.
Had I dropped four figures…