Photo by Jack Dempsey/AP
ClipperBlog’s Charlie Widdoes, Nick Flynt and D.J. Foster discuss the Clippers road win over Denver.
1. When the Clippers go small they are ______ ?
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: Really, really bad at rebounding the ball. With the exception of Chris Paul and Randy Foye on occasion, they struggle to stay in front of guys on the perimeter, which forces DeAndre Jordan to help. With the big man out of position, responsibility falls to the guards to pick up the slack, and as a group, they just don’t have the instincts to be even adequate in that area.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: They’re “who knows?” The Clippers have played almost no small ball this season according to 82games.com. 3-guard lineups had some pretty decent results in certain situations for Vinny Del Negro and the Clips last season, but I’m still not sure if I want to see it this season. The team is having enough trouble with rebounding as it is, not to mention the defensive implications of going small. It worked down the stretch tonight, but only because Denver allowed it to with their own small lineup.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Enhanced – at least offensively. Since Butler doesn’t draw fouls or hit the offensive glass at high rates, Williams represents an upgrade offensively because he’s a better 3-point shooter (45% to 34%) and a superior playmaker (4.7 assists per 36 minutes to 2 assists). To pull it off defensively, you have to be playing against a set of wings incapable of posting up and a point guard who can’t hurt you from outside or with quick penetration. That’s Andre Miller, and that’s Denver. The matchup will rarely permit, but it did tonight.
2. What gets more credit for the fourth quarter comeback: The offense or the defense?
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: The offense. Chris Paul came alive after a 2-point first half and everything else fell into place. Even though many of their shots were contested jumpers, Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams caught fire and had an answer for every Denver run.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: The offense. Mo Williams and Chris Paul both came back to life in the 4th, and Chauncey closed out his strong game offensively. Defensively, the Clippers gave up 4 dunks to Nene and were fortunate Al Harrington came up small with some good opportunities to win the game for Denver.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: The defense. The Clippers captured the lead with hot shooting, but their awareness defensively helped them keep it. As the refs swallowed their whistles, Blake Griffin went to a classic move – the old hand push on the hip. It helped slow Gallinari down on his drives to the hole and then left him unable to elevate at the rim. Griffin’s heady tricks were only bested by Chauncey Billups, who stepped over and took a charge in the game’s most critical possession.
3. Who was the MVP tonight in the win?
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: Paul. Billups led the way with 32 points and drained 6 of 12 from three, but Paul’s impact on all phases of the game was the difference. Even with the high scoring total, Chauncey only finished the night with a +2. Paul scored seven fewer points, but chipped in seven assists and six boards and a whopping +19 rating for the game.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Chauncey Billups. Sometimes the box score hides the true top
contributor for a team, but tonight the numbers said it all. Chauncey hit bailout shots as well as he hit open shots tonight, and his performance carried the Clippers for some key stretches.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: It’s absolutely Chauncey Billups. It helps he was on fire, but Chauncey’s shot distribution was perfect tonight – 12 of his 20 attempts were from behind the arc (good) and 8 of his 11 made field goals came on shots where he used one dribble or less (great). When Chauncey plays primarily as a spot-up threat, he’s dangerous.