Thanks to a Chris Paul bailout, the Clippers escaped Philadelphia with a 78-77 victory. ClipperBlog contributors D.J. Foster, Nick Flynt and Michael Shagrin answer three questions from the game.
1. When the Clippers go big, they’re _____.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Awesome! Look, this was an ugly game. Since neither team could buy a jumper, the best strategy was to smash into someone and pray for an offensive rebound or foul call.The Clippers’ floor spacing with Blake Griffin, Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin all on the floor together was pretty laughable, but they out-possessed a Sixers team that doesn’t usually let that happen. This was a real WWI type battle, trench warfare and whatnot. Can’t blame Del Negro for resorting to desperate measures.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Clunky. The Clippers came away with the win tonight by rebounding the 76ers to death and enjoying some gifted missed free throws down the stretch. Offensively, Chris Paul managed to get a few clutch baskets despite the Clippers having the spacing of a pick-up team circa 1933. Most teams aren’t going to lose against a lineup that can’t score or guard the perimeter without fouling.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: Scary. A forward combination of Blake Griffin, Reggie Evans, and Kenyon Martin earns the titles of strongest and most physical frontcourt in the league. It also provides Vinny del Negro with some leeway (which he desperately needs) to sit DeAndre Jordan when he’s having trouble contributing. It further means less Ryan Gomes, who by the way, shouldn’t even be in the arena during the last frame.
2. Describe the last 30 seconds in 30 words or less.
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul continues to make everyone around him look much better than they actually are. Del Negro and Ryan Gomes owe him big time after that disastrous inbound attempt.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: A slow, painful march to the win with a late detour on an inbound that looked like it was taking the team to Chokeville.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: Massive amount of credit for the success in crunch time goes to heady veteran play by Kenyon Martin. When Blake hurriedly tossed the ball from his strewn position on the floor toward halfcourt, it was received without drama by KMart. Knowing his place, he shoveled the ball to Paul with eight seconds left on the clock. You know what happened next. (Ed note: That’s more than 30 words, but whatever, he’s right. Leaving it!)
3. MVP from this game?
D.J. Foster, ClipperBlog: Reggie Evans was the hero this game deserved. His hustle and offensive rebounding in the fourth quarter gave the Clippers multiple chances they otherwise probably wouldn’t have received.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Co-MVPs tonight. Reggie Evans had some huge boards down the stretch while enjoying a night off on the defensive end (the 76ers didn’t have anyone to isolate and take advantage of his D, fortunately). Your other MVP is, of course, Chris Paul. Tough fadeaways against great D, drives to the rim, solid defense. CP3 is pretty good at this stuff.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: While I’m inclined to give the MVP to Reggie Evans or Chris Paul, tonight game saw Blake Griffin’s mere presence on the floor alter the course of just about every offensive possession. Griffin established early the ease with which he could generate his own high percentage shot. This forced the Sixers to liberally collapse the key on defense, which opened up opportunities to nab long offensive rebounds and hit jumpers.