As if it weren’t obvious from the crickets chirping around these parts over the past week, I’ve been away from Los Angeles. I’ve been able to watch the Clippers only in fits and starts on a lousy connection that freezes my League Pass every 90 seconds. This suspended animation produces still images of Andray Blatche looking like a large bug for two straight minutes and, even scarier, of the Clippers appalling interior defense.
On the rosier side, Steve Novak has clawed his way into heavy rotation, as John Hollinger notes today:
If you haven’t been watching Clippers games lately, I can’t say I blame you. But you’re missing out on a 3-point explosion for the ages.
L.A.’s Steve Novak went 6-for-10 from downtown Wednesday night and now is 21-for-34 over his past four games — including the game-winner at the buzzer against New Jersey on Sunday. The past 11 times he’s played at least 20 minutes, he’s made two or more 3s. Since Jan. 19, only Cleveland’s Mo Williams has made more 3-pointers than Novak, which is pretty amazing, considering Novak has played only 21 minutes a game in that span.
In that two-month span, Novak is 77-for-171 (45 percent) from downtown while averaging a 3-point hoist every four minutes. Although he is fairly worthless on defense and can’t create his own shot, his 3s are such a powerful offensive weapon that he’s forced the Clips to play him anyway — he started the second half Wednesday against Washington, and that might be a harbinger of how he will be used the rest of the way.
With one of the highest true shooting percentages (62.9) in the league and a microscopic turnover ratio (4.9 percent of the possessions he’s used), along with his teammates’ dreadful efficiency otherwise (they are last in offensive efficiency), getting him as many shots as possible should be among this team’s highest priorities.
That last point is worth noting and will be an interesting test for Mike Dunleavy and the guys who share the floor with Novak. We’ve seen the Clippers run some effective stuff for Novak — using Randolph in the post to leverage some space, and with Baron up top on the pick and pop. Novak isn’t an easy guy to get shots for. He doesn’t have the speed of a Rip Hamilton or Dale Ellis. The Clippers will have to be creative in their design, and flawless in their execution. For the past week or so, it’s been working, but you have to assume that teams will start preparing for Novak and, in some cases, assigning a sticky perimeter defender to him.