Okay, so that title might be a bit misleading. It’s more like the Clippers just stay the same, but have occasional stretches of offensive explosiveness powerful enough to propel them through bad defensive nights.
Tonight, we had a solid effort from Chris Paul (23 points on 18 shots, 5 dimes, 2 turnovers, 3 steals), good shooting from Randy Foye who also penetrated and had a nice dish to Blake, Blake with a comeback 27 point, 12 rebound game (he looked tired throughout the game and was hit in the face at one point) and a DOUBLE-DOUBLE ALERT FOR REGGIE EVANS. That was surprising. 11 points and 12 boards from Reggie in only 20 minutes of PT (and his D was better than usual as well, although still pretty suspect).
But with Randy Foye’s good performance, we had the usual disappointment from the other scoring role players. Mo Williams was 1/8 from the field in 30 minutes of PT. Caron Butler was 0/6 from the field and again benched for long stretches in favor of Bobby Simmons (Simmons played 27 minutes to Caron’s 19, shooting 2/6 from the field, but both makes were 3-pointers and he played pretty solid defense for stretches). DeAndre wasn’t nearly as rough to watch as he’s been the rest of the week, but Reggie was playing really well (and against a team in the Warriors whose only true post-up threat in David Lee is also a stretch big, but not an absolute banger, so Reggie and Blake were trusted with him on D) so he got the majority of center minutes.
Kenyon Martin was out with sore ribs for the second game in a row, but I’m not really willing to blame this loss on him with the front line generally faring well, but he may have helped stop David Lee and Udoh for stretches. Really, at this point, I’m consigned to the mediocre-to-bad defense (Lee and Udoh both had very efficient games, but the defense on Lee was generally solid).
Speaking of generally solid, Eric Bledsoe kicked in a decent 16 minutes. The Warriors are the perfect team for him — high volume scoring guards for him to lock in on, no shooting guard that can be trusted to post him/Mo/CP3 up when they’re on the court together. He grabbed some nice boards and did a nice job on defense keying a 4th quarter Clippers run. Unfortunately he also blew 3 of the 4 fastbreak opportunities he had (ripped by Monta on one, missed pull-up jumper on another…and now I’ve forgotten the last. But it wasn’t particularly good, anyway).
But the main idea behind this game is that the Clippers offense isn’t very good when neither Caron nor Mo nor Randy is hitting (hey there 16-point 1st quarter), and the defense is never very good. A 29-19 4th quarter didn’t get the job done because of that bad 1st (again, keyed by role player scoring struggles, in this case Caron and Randy) and mediocre Mo Williams minutes in the 2nd quarter and late 3rd quarter AND throughout the 4th. On nights like this, the Clippers remind me of the worst of the Orlando Magic’s struggles in the 4-out, 1-in offense they like to run.
We’ll see how the squad tomorrow does on another Sunday-Monday back-to-back, at home against the Celtics (coming off a loss to the Lakers).