Ed note: Trade news coming soon. Here’s the recap from last night’s win over the Hawks by Michael Shagrin.
The Clippers rarely come away with a victory if Chris Paul isn’t using his wizardry to tear apart an opposing defense. It’s even less common to ride that victory on the chariot of unrelenting rebounding and defense off the bench. This was a very reassuring game. After a streak consisting of nail-biting losses, bad losses, and nail-biting wins, the Clippers defense held the Hawks high-powered stars in check all game. Three Happy Takeaways:
1. Offensive Rebounding
In an effort led by Reggie Evans, who nabbed four offensive boards and ten overall, the story isn’t that the Clips cleaned up the board particularly effectively, but rather that the team capitalized on the second chance by converting on all of their recorded attempts (according to Synergy Sports, the Clippers were 5-5 from the field off offensive rebounds, including an And-1). This was the second straight game Reggie has successfully put his effort towards finishing around the rim instead of dishing it out for a reset.
2. Held on to the Lead
The Clippers have found a knack for giving away a lead they worked hard to pad. The blame for choking usually falls on the Vinny Del Negro via the mindless rotation of the bench, but that was not the case last night. The Clippers found a lead in the first quarter and never gave it up despite concerted offensive runs led by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.
Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe scored a combined 39 points (25 and 14, respectively), with much credit going to Vinny Del Negro for bringing duo off the bench at the right time and leaving them in for extended stretches of excellent play. Their ability to speed up the pace of the game leading to offense created by defense provides both guards with the exact transition scoring opportunities they’re most comfortable in; transition dives to the basket for Bledsoe with pull-ups and spots-ups for Williams. The potency of the defense’s influence in this success can’t be overstressed. Williams had up two steals and a block, while Bledsoe racked up four steals and two blocks.