LOS ANGELES — People watching is a typical occurrence during games at the Staples Center and that trend has been going on seemingly forever, given the number of celebrities overflowing in this city.
The Nets’ brutal performance assured there was plenty of it Thursday night. It certainly was better than anything that took place on the court.
Uncompetitive for the better part of three quarters, the Nets got clobbered, 123-84, by the Clippers, dropping them to 1-1 on this three-game trip that concludes against the Jazz in Utah on Saturday.
“We tried to stay with them, but it just didn’t work out that way,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “Our game plan just got obliterated by their play.”
Here’s how rough of a night it was for the Nets (18-25): Mason Plumlee was the only starter to crack double digits, netting 16 points to go with three rebounds. Joe Johnson struggled mightily, going 4-for -12 from the floor, scoring nine points, and Jarrett Jack's touch was way off, too. He shot 3-for-11, and totaled seven points.
“It was unfortunate for us and pretty embarrassing considering it was a nationally televised game,” Johnson said. “The only thing that counts is it’s just one game and now we’ve got to move forward.”
Starting in place of a resting Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez was a non-factor with four points and got embarrassed on a DeAndre Jordan second-quarter dunk.
“I didn’t have it tonight,” Lopez said. “We didn’t have it tonight. Blake got a lot of easy ones in transition, hanging out in the backcourt and we kind of had to adjust to that. We couldn’t send both of our bigs to the offensive glass pretty much. But it’s done.”
Griffin paced the Clippers (28-14) with 24 points and six rebounds. Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick had 17 points apiece and Jordan added 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Nets trailed by 46 points in the fourth quarter.
As if things weren’t already difficult enough without Garnett, who sat out the tail end of a back-to-back for the eighth time in 11 such scenarios this season, and with Deron Williams still out indefinitely with fractured rib cartilage, the Nets got another scare. Mirza Teletovic was taken to a local hospital at halftime for tests because of shortness of breath.
Teletovic left with 4:30 remaining in the first half and went back to the locker room with team trainer Tim Walsh to get checked out and didn’t return. It’s unclear exactly when he got banged up, but his absence challenged the Nets’ shallow depth even more.
“We’ve been shorthanded all year. That’s nothing new,” Johnson said.
In reality, the Clippers were on cruise control since the second quarter.
The Clippers finished the first quarter on a 17-6 run — and it only got worse for the Nets.
The Nets’ second quarter had about the same level of excitement as sitting in traffic on a Southern California freeway. It was that brutal, that frustrating to watch.
Led by the high-flying Griffin’s nine points and also nine by Crawford. Los Angeles outscored the Nets in the quarter 36-14. The Clippers shot 66 percent in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Nets couldn’t get anything going. They made only 6 of 21 shots in the second, going 1-for-7 beyond the three-point arc, and were outscored 16-5 over a stretch of 3:48 near the end of the quarter, trailing 70-37 when Jerome Jordan flushed home a dunk to close out the half.
By then, the only real entertainment left on this night stemmed from one of the Clippers’ most fanatical patrons, who kept trying to induce the crowd into a cheer of “Let’s go Pacquiao!” with hopes it sparked a reaction from Floyd Mayweather, who was sitting courtside. It didn’t.