“Game time!” That’s all Clippers fans need to remember. Even in the fourth quarter, when the team let a 19-point lead slip to a 2-point game, Los Angeles’ best closer doesn’t wear purple-and-gold. He wears red, blue and white. And it looks like he’s trying to grow his separated twin’s moustache. Who’s ready for Last Call??
Recap | Box score
No Daily Dime tonight. So instead, enjoy this picture of CP3 and rising star, CP4.
Tweet of the Game
“Who are you?” “I’m you, from the future. Don’t sit courtside.”
— Adam Reisinger (@AdamReisinger) January 5, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
Tonight’s ClipperBlog Live had Jordan Heimer checking over his shoulder, looking to see if anyone is stealing his password, and spotting what he thinks was Metta World Peace as a sexy zebra.
Check Your Messages
Luck Is the Residue of Design
The Clippers outsmarted the Lakers Friday night. They were better in help defense, passed the ball better and, ultimately, they had Chris Paul. But the way they defended Metta World Peace, the Lakers’ third-leading scorer who has been raining in threes this year, might be their most intelligent strategic move of the night.
World Peace was shooting 36.1 percent from three on a career-high 5.8 attempts per game coming into the night, but don’t be fooled by that percentage and assume he just hits all long-range shots. Metta is all about hanging out in the corner and spotting up. Friday, the Clippers wouldn’t let him go to the corner. It just wasn’t going to happen.
Because of that, World Peace had to settle for his four three-point attempts all above the break, where he shoots only 30.8 percent. He missed all four. Now, that is wonderful preparation.
– Fred Katz
Chris Paul, #PointGod
Dropping 30 points, six rebounds and 13 assists is a career game for most players, but not for the Point God. If anything, he was a little bit off tonight. He was a below-average 11-for-25 from the field, and took a few shots that didn’t even hit iron. At times, it seemed he was dominating the ball too much, a rarity for a player usually chastised for not being aggressive enough. There were some head-scratchers that seemed like shots Kobe would take, and there was a bit of hero ball.
But in the end, when it mattered most, Paul came up big as usual. During “crunch time”, Paul scored eight points, all of the Clippers’ points, in fact. Paul led the Clippers to victory when a sea of purple and gold was trying to ruin the posh party. As fans were on their seats, Kobe was biting his jersey, chaos emerging, there stood Paul, calm and ready to handle whatever was thrown his way. His step-back jumper on Bryant, his second of the night, all but sealed the Clippers’ fate. It’s just another reason he is the Point God.
– Jovan Buha
“I’m you. From the future.”
– Jordan Heimer
The absence of Jamal Crawford gave Vinny Del Negro a unique opportunity to experiment with what is normally a fairly rigid rotation. With the first guard off the bench nursing a sore foot, Vinny deployed his deep well of wings and guards in a manner that reflected both the hot hand and the situational necessity.
In the first quarter, Willie Green was subbed out for Matt Barnes to play the wing alongside Caron Butler. The lineup worked well and proved that forgoing Crawford’s offensive prowess is possible, even necessary, against matchups with multiple scoring wings. Eric Bledsoe also experienced a rarity in that he played the majority of his minutes in the backcourt alongside Chris Paul. This dynamic two-way combination takes some of the defensive pressure off of Paul as well as creates more avenues for transition points, a means of easing Paul’s offensive burden. It’s no coincidence that tonight he finally got over his “Widdoes Syndrome.”
Beyond the wings, there were two periods when Lamar Odom and DeAndre Jordan shared the floor due to Blake Griffin’s foul trouble. Rather than pairing Odom with Griffin, as is usually done at the end of the first and third quarters, playing Lamar and DJ together allows them each to play their natural positions. As Chauncey Billups’ health continues to improve and Grant Hill expected to return to action next week, it’s confidence-inspiring to see Vinny improvising some diverse and effective lineups.
– Michael Shagrin
Kobe of Persia
– D.J. Foster
Tripod of coaching
If you’ve attended any game in the last few years, the first thing you notice at a timeout is that the coaches congregate on court for what seems like an hour. Then a horn blows and they scurry over to the bench, trying to convey as much as possible in approximately 19 seconds before the players must report back to the game.
But if you’ve watched the Clippers bench during those timeouts, Chris Paul is already instructing the players while the coaches are sequestered. For timeouts early in the game, Billups also strolls over to the referees and does a meet and greet; maybe drop a few parcels of information on fouls to look out for from the other team. It’s just another way the Clippers are maximizing their time.
– Andrew Han
The two L.A.s: A study in contrast
The Lakers and Clippers entered Friday night’s matchup in entirely different moods. Even though the Clippers were coming off back-to-back road losses to Denver and Golden State, the feeling around the team was still rosy as it took the floor. Meanwhile, the Lakers entered the game winners of six of their past eight, but a sub-.500 record meant there was still a long shadow cast over them. The Lakers didn’t seem much closer to answering the hard question, and the team’s struggles were every bit as stubborn as the Clippers’ success was exciting.
– Kevin Arnovitz, for ESPN.com