Clippers at San Antonio
Game time: 5:30 pm PT
TV Channel: Fox Sports Prime Ticket
The Clippers have been killing it at home, but now it’s time to hit the road. To start the road trip the Clippers head to San Antonio to take on a Spurs team that’s notoriously tough at home. Here’s John Hollinger at ESPN (Insider) breaking down why the Clippers have been so great to start this season. Enjoy the game, and make sure to catch what will either be an informative ClipperBlogLive with a Spurs blogger, or me running a trainwreck, solo show. Anyhow, here’s Hollinger:
“Yet any discussion of Crawford, or Blake Griffin and Chris Paul for that matter, ends up obscuring the lead story in L.A.: The fact the Clippers are actually guarding people. The Clips won as an offensive team a year ago, ranking fourth in offense and 18th in defense, and during the playoffs were absolutely shredded by San Antonio’s precision attack
Fast forward to this season, however, and unbelievably the Clippers are No. 3, even with Crawford and Vinny Del Negro both involved prominently. Vinny will engender a massive rethink of his status in the league’s coaching hierarchy if his charges can keep this up, especially because they’ve done it against some fairly strong offenses.
Moreover, they’re not doing it how you might think. Despite the imposing frontcourt of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers have actually been vulnerable on the glass, ranking only 25th in defensive rebound rate. They’ve just been very good at everything else.
Most notably, the Clips are second in forcing turnovers and third in field goal defense. For the former, you can thank Bledsoe and his absurdly high steal rate (nearly one every 10 minutes), as well as the fast hands of annual steals title contender CP3. Between those two alone L.A. gets nearly four thefts a game.
Behind them, Jordan and Griffin have improved — especially Jordan, who often looked lost defensively a year ago but has refined his game to the point that he’s a valuable rim protector. Nonetheless, the real impact again comes when the Clippers go to their energetic bench. Statistically, all of the Clippers’ best defensive units have been bench grouping, with L.A. going up another level in particular when Bledsoe or Matt Barnes replaces Caron Butler.”