Oh me oh my — pretty impressive win from the Clippers on a night they clinched a playoff berth. Here’s the Lob City Ledger from ESPNLA.com. When you’re done here, make sure to check out the latest ClipperBlogLive directly below this post to get more in-depth analysis.
This was perhaps the most impressive win of the season for the Clippers, mainly because of how they got it done. Instead of their usual reliance on Chris Paul heroics and offensive firepower, the Clippers got down and dirty on the defensive end — an effort spearheaded by a more aware and more active Griffin. Even without the dunks to seal it, this was a playoff-caliber performance from Griffin.
It’s pretty clear Oklahoma City isn’t sure what to do with Paul at this point. Don’t trap him, and he dices up your defense in the paint. Trap him, and then you’ve got a Griffin problem staring you in the face at the free throw line. This wasn’t Paul’s best game, but he might enjoy it the most, as it appears his teammates are finally catching up with him, best they can.
You might expect a native Angeleno to put on an incredibly efficient scoring display with the Thunder in town, but you probably wouldn’t guess it would be Young instead of James Harden. This marks the second straight game against Oklahoma City in which Young has stolen the spotlight and given the second unit a huge boost with his confident, aggressive offensive approach.
The “Black Zone” of Clippers assistant coach Dean Demopoulos has never had much success in his tenure with the Clippers, but with a group of smart veterans and a little practice time under their belts, the Clippers have been using the zone effectively of late. The different look stifled the Thunder’s offense in short bursts and amplified Oklahoma City’s tendency to turn over the ball.
Like plenty of other Western Conference teams, Oklahoma City probably wants no part of the Clippers come playoff time — especially when the Clippers defend the way they did Monday night. Although they’re certainly a great team, the Thunder ultimately could be undone in the playoffs by their inability to take care of the ball. In a playoff setting, 19 turnovers just isn’t going to get it done.