On one hand, this game was kind of meaningless, as nothing about Miami’s playoff matchup was going to change as a result of it. On the other hand, it’s probably not a good thing when you give up a 15-0 run in the first quarter directly after taking your first lead of the game when it comes against the team that you’re going to play in a seven game series after this one wraps up. On a completely different third hand, Miami was without noted Marquette guys Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder as well as Andre Iguodala, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo in this game, and Derrick Jones, Jr. had to be carted off the floor in a neck brace during the third quarter. On yet a totally different fourth hand, Indiana rested a bunch of their top guys as well, so neither team was going full steam in this game, and yet Indiana still grabbed an early lead and held Miami at bay.
Without any Marquette guys taking part in this one, I don’t have much else to say, other than we’re going to get to talk about a lot more Heat/Pacers games over the next two weeks or so and they’ll probably be much more interesting than this one.
Los Angeles Clippers 107, Oklahoma City Thunder 103 (OT) — LA recovered from a 12 point deficit at the half to lead by nine at the end of the third quarter, but they still needed a free throw with 83 seconds left in regulation from Terance Mann and a whole bunch of misses from OKC to end up getting this one to overtime. That’s where Mann knocked in a triple with 2:30 left to go to put the Clippers up for good to get them to finish the “regular” season with a victory.
As was the case with the Miami/Indiana game we just talked about, the stars were sitting this one out. Former MU star and current Clippers head coach Doc Rivers gave Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Lou Williams the night off to get them some extra rest before the playoffs started. LA had already locked up the #2 seed in the playoffs after beating Denver earlier in the week, so you can see Doc’s view on the topic.
Mann had 25 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists to lead the Clippers in all three categories. Hamidou Diallo finished with a game high 27 points plus 11 rebounds for the Thunder.
It was a rough start for the Sun with four misses on their first five shots, but they were still up 19-18 after 10 minutes. Then they held the Sky to just 10 points in the second quarter, which gave Connecticut a nine point advantage at the half. It ballooned to 16 at one point in the third, but Chicago got it back to 10 heading into the fourth quarter.
You will, however, notice that this one had a very close finish. It wasn’t anything like a big run by Chicago, just chipping away at the Sun until they nudged it back into shooting range. The most important play of the game may have come with under a minute left, with Chicago getting ready to take the lead while trailing by one, 73-72. Courtney Vandersloot just completely lost track of Alyssa Thomas, and this happened:
here's the best way to describe how important alyssa thomas is to winning games in one tweet pic.twitter.com/p2tezn7w84— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) August 15, 2020
The two sides traded buckets, forcing Chicago to foul to extend the game. While Thomas’ heads up defense and quick hands gave Connecticut a big advantage with that steal, her free throw shooting made this one super interesting as she missed a pair with less than 14 seconds to go.
Connecticut’s defense came up big again as DeWanna Bonner and Brionna Jones trapped Vandersloot into another turnover which officially goes as a steal for Bonner. Chicago fouled, Bonner hit both freebies, and that was that.
Four of the Sun starters finished in double digits in scoring, as Thomas tagged a double-double on 15 points and 10 rebounds, but she missed the triple-double by just two assists. Jones (15 points) and Bonner (a game high 19 points) both missed a double-double by just one rebound each.
Natisha Hiedeman is our point of focus, though, and she came off the bench for seven minutes of action here. She unfortunately missed all three of her field goal attempts, but did manage to add a rebound to the effort.
Up Next: Connecticut continues the regular season with a Sunday evening contest against Seattle. That one comes at you at 5pm Central and you can watch on ABC.
The Clippers are the #2 seed in the Western Conference, and they’ll start off the playoffs with a seven game set against Dallas. Game #1 against the Mavericks is on Monday night, with tipoff set for 8pm Central on ESPN. The loss to Indiana made the Heat the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference and set up a first round series against the #4 seed Pacers. Game #1 is set for Tuesday afternoon, with TNT carrying the 3pm CT tipoff.