Looking forward to tonight’s game against the Golden State Warriors (I’ll be live chatting at Daily Dime Live during the game). Never the most defensive minded team, this year’s Warriors team looks especially incapable of slowing the score down. Evidence: Wednesday’s 132-128 victory over the Houston Rockets. I’m guessing that there are going to be a lot more scores like this from the Warriors team, except the Ws might be less frequent than the Ls. That’s just what happens when you build around Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and David Lee. None of them are known for their defense, just their highly efficient game at the offensive end. Check that score again. 132 points. Unbelievable. True, the Rockets have replaced Trevor Ariza with Kevin Martin, but they still have Shane Battier and Chuck Hayes to help. And I don’t care what team you’re playing, 132 points is a lot of points scored.
128 points is also a lot of points to give up.
Much of that is determined by the pace that the Warriors like to play and it will be interesting to see how VDN and Baron handle the issue. While I do like the aesthetic aspect of fast paced play (I mean who doesn’t like to see fast break dunks, alley-oops, dagger threes?), I don’t think that this Clippers team is well suited for a game as fast as the Warriors want to play. It becomes a matter of efficiency and with the Clippers knack for turning the ball over, the pace will compound that problem.
The Clippers one big advantage against this Warriors team is strength. Look at every position: Baron is stronger than Monta, Eric Gordon is stronger than Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin is stronger than David Lee. Kaman and Gomes are probably stronger than Biedrins and Wright, it’s at least closer there, but it’s clear that at no point will the Clippers be worried about being pushed around. This isn’t the Lakers or the Mavericks. So they might want to focus on applying that strength to their advantage.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that will happen. The team is young and ready to run, even Baron prefers this style, so I think the odds of the Clippers getting sucked into a high octane game is pretty likely. Not that it means the Clippers will lose, I just don’t see a team this newly formed being disciplined enough to stick to their own nascent identity.
What will be curious is whether the Clippers bring the same defensive intensity that I read about on Wednesday night (I go into a school-induced cave setting on Wednesdays and Thursdays), because, frankly, I need to see this for my own eyes. If they do bring that intensity, combined with a correction in their defensive rebounding, it should be enough to take down this Warriors team.
Since I didn’t mention Blake, there’s a whole lot of Blake love in this analysis from Wednesday’s game:
While he’s not yet a finished product, Griffin is by no means raw. He did almost all of his work around the basket tonight, finishing 6-10 on layups and dunks, while shooting 2-4 from outside the immediate basket area. There’s a pro and a con to those numbers. The upside? He’s attacking the basket relentlessly, both off the dribble and while crashing the offensive boards (he had nine offensive rebounds, and it felt like 29). The downside? Defenses will adjust quickly, daring him to shoot the mid-range jumper, a shot that is in his toolbox but that he didn’t look particularly eager to shoot tonight.