Three Takeaways from NBA Thursday: Clippers, coffee is for closers

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There were just three games in the NBA Thursday, but the Warriors and Clippers gave us probably the best game of the young season. If you were busy getting your name changed and didn’t catch the action, here is what you missed from a Thursday night around the league.

1) Clippers, put that coffee down. Coffee’s for closers only. Alec Baldwin (channeling David Mamet) may have been talking directly to the Clippers. Thursday night on national television Los Angeles was up 23 in the first quarter and 10 in the fourth quarter on Golden State and lost — and that was just the latest in a long-line of blown leads, blown chances by the Clippers. They were up on the Warriors in the fourth earlier this season and lost. Last May they were up three games to one and 17 points in the second half of game five against Houston and lost that series. I can go on and on, but you get the point — when it comes time to execute down the stretch the Clippers fall apart. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin combined to shoot 3-of-10 in the fourth quarter Thursday, they didn’t execute. When things get tight, the Clippers get tight. And they know it.

“We have got to do a better job playing 48 minutes,” Paul Pierce said.

“Down the stretch we just have to be a little more together…” Austin Rivers said. “We have to trust each other more and to understand that it’s not ‘I have to make the big play,’ it’s we have to make this big play.”

In crunch time, the Warriors were moving the ball and trusting the open man. The Clippers become predictable. It’s an ongoing issue. Getting over this hump is why Doc Rivers was brought in, but he hasn’t been able to get them there yet. You have to learn how to win in this league, but when will CP3 and Griffin be able to pass the test? Can they?

2) Rajon Rondo was one rebound short of his fifth triple-double in seven games. To be honest, I think the triple-double can be an overrated stat, but if you’re putting up five of those in seven games you are impacting the game. Rajon Rondo is doing just that — was dishing and dealing for the Kings in Miami Thursday, putting up 14 points, dishing 18 assists, and grabbing nine rebounds. It’s the assists that have impacted the Kings — they are starting to move the ball, more like we expect from a George Karl team, and Rondo is leading that. However, with this roster that also means a to of Sacramento turnovers. But given his freedom, Rondo is putting up excellent numbers nightly.

The Kings lost, which is expected when DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t play (suspended for an elbow to head of Hawks’ Al Horford). The scarier news in Sacramento is Rudy Gay left the game in the third quarter grabbing his shoulder. No details on the severity of his injury, he will undergo an MRI on Friday.

3) Milwaukee’s John Henson is the early leader in the flop of the year contest with this effort from Thursday.