The Clippers cruised to their easiest victory of the season, beating the Bobcats 111-86 in Charlotte. ClipperBlog contributors Jordan Heimer, Nick Flynt and Michael Shagrin answer three questions from the blowout.
1. Best aspect of the blowout win?
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: After an emotional win last night, it couldn’t have been easy to get revved up for a Charlotte team that Ralph Lawler – a man who knows a thing or two about lousy basketball – called “maybe the worst NBA team I’ve ever seen.” But apart from a few sloppy minutes at the start of the game, the Clippers energy was consistently high. The way the Clips continued to push in the third – diving for loose balls, continuing to make unselfish second passes – turned the fourth into long-form garbage time. Bonus answer: Eric Bledsoe looked bouncy as heck collecting five quick fouls.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: I’m torn between a) the extra rest for the starters and b) the Bobcats losing all hope and just letting the Clippers dunk all over them. I’ll go with the highlights.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: The best aspect of the blowout win is usually the confirmation that your team is not destined for the lottery and that discussions of a title aren’t mere fantasies. While this conformation should feel good after tonight’s win, it really doesn’t compare to the entertainment value of the Blake Griffin Dunk Hour presented by Chris Paul Productions.
2. True or False: Blake Griffin’s improved free throw shooting is here to stay.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Jeremy Lin is twice the player Walt Frazier ever was. Reversion to the mean is the archenemy of streaks. Is Blake suddenly a 80% + free throw shooter? It would be great if he were, but it seems unlikely. That doesn’t mean the much heralded rhythm dribble hasn’t helped, only that it probably hasn’t helped this much.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Adding a few dribbles into the otherwise same free throw technique probably hasn’t turned Blake into an 80% foul shooter, but I do buy real improvement. We might see a consistent 70% clip from Blake over the course of the rest of the season, the way things are going.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: True. Blake Griffin will continue to shoot his free throws at an improved rate. Don’t, however, expect him to continue shooting them at better than 80%, like he has over the previous four games. The 23 year-old’s foul shooting should keep improving as he figures out a routine at the line while also spending more and more time there.
3. MVP from this game?
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul. In his first homecoming game as a Clip, Paul studded his usual hyper-efficient play with enough razzle dazzle to delight the 150+ friends and family in attendance. Kemba Walker proved too slow and too small to stop Paul from getting anywhere on the court he wanted. It was good to see Randy Foye drain a few wide open three pointers – a reassuring reminder that with Chris Paul delivering the ball the Chauncey-less Clippers won’t lack for good looks.
Nick Flynt, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul. He did all of the Chris Paul things. Penetration into the lane, great highlight passes, fantastic floaters and mid-range jumpers. (I’ll also take this time to shout-out DeAndre having a good game IN WHICH HE HIT A CONTESTED JUMPER.)
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul. He made the best of his homecoming by putting on a show. I don’t think he even shifted out of first gear, but still managed to put up 18-14-5.