Losing isn’t fun at all. Saturday, the entire Magic team showed its romantic side. Wherever you will go, baby, Afflalo you. No, 30 points from Aaron Afflalo isn’t fun either, but Last Call is:
Recap | Box score
No Daily Dime tonight, but here’s Ish Smith’s vicious dunk (which was of course followed by an airball free throw, because that’s how the world works).
Tweet of the Game
What’s the difference between chess and checkers????
— Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice) January 12, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
FOUL! JUST FOUL!
No, don’t foul there:
Apparently, McBob can pass:
How could you be Moe Harkless?
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
Andrew implements a new game to end the show that has Jordan squirming.
Check Your Messages
If you think about it, Duke hate is pretty low and petty, a venom focused against teenagers whose only crimes are playing fundamentally sound basketball, sporting appealingly preppy haircuts, and largely eschewing body art. And yet… J.J. Redick makes it seem so reasonable.
In a tie game entering its final minute, J.J. beat the Clippers with his offense, his defense, and his karate. First he put Matt Barnes in the air with a nasty pump-fake before draining the go-ahead 3, then stymied the Clips’ best attempt to tie when he stepped in front of Jamal Crawford and took a charge with 12 seconds to play. In between, he left Chris Paul writhing in pain and holding his left knee after a jarring collision. (I hear Coach K teaches this move in secret summer practices, closed to the press.)
On the bright side, he’s playing for a last place team, and Duke lost to NC State today. So all is not lost.
- Jordan Heimer
Jameer Nelson checked into the game with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter. It was a seven-point game and the Magic had proven they weren’t going down easy while the Clippers seemed unwilling or unable to deliver a fatal blow. Over the previous 3:30, the mythical Bledsoe-Crawford-Barnes-Hill-Odom lineup materialized as a stifling defensive group while struggling mightily on the offensive end. They continued to play strong team defense when Nelson entered the game, but his quickness and penetrating ability helped keep the Magic within five points (88-83) when Chris Paul checked in halfway through the quarter. A minute later Blake Griffin also entered the game sending Grant Hill to the bench.
The Magic finished the game with a steady dose of open jump shots while Bledsoe and Hill, two of the Clippers’ best perimeter defenders sat idly on the bench. Over this period Redick and Afflalo went on an absolute tear:
J.J. Redick: 7 pts, 3/4 FG, 2/3 3PT
Arron Afflalo: 8 pts, 3/4 FG 1/1 3PT
This is by no means sounding an alarm, but the Clippers will face teams with floor spacing identities in the playoffs and they’ve shown continued vulnerability to this offensive strategy.
- Michael Shagrin
Where’d Blake Go?
Blake Griffin started off Saturday’s game chucking.He wasn’t taking bad shots; he was just feeling it.
13 shots in his first 12 minutes.
22 shots through three quarters.
Griffin was taking good shots and they were going in. But then the fourth quarter came and the shooting stopped.
There was a stretch near the end of the third quarter when Griffin scored on five straight Clippers’ possessions. And he did it in a variety of ways. He made a beautiful left-hand hook. He made a right-hand hook. He banked in a 17-footer. He had an alley-oop. It looked like a scouting tape Blake would’ve sent to a college coach he was trying to get to recruit him. He was basically showing off every different type of way he could score.
But in the fourth quarter, the Clippers got away from Blake. They started to settle for jumpers that were hardly preferable, poor shots they weren’t taking in the first three periods. They didn’t go to Griffin in the post again until they were down by three with eight seconds remaining, hardly the time to finally revert back to your first-three-quarters offense.
The Clippers looked discombobulated in the fourth quarter. Part of that may have had to do with them getting away from their hottest offensive player for seemingly no reason at all.
- Fred Katz
You Literally Cannot Win Them All
Sometimes a team is terrible. Sometimes a team is simply better than its opponent. On most nights this season, the Clippers are clearly the better team. They prove it on the court and their record backs it up. Orlando is rebuilding and often they’re not the better team. But most nights the Magic are a very competitive team. And their record does not reflect that.
Should the Clippers have won? Yes. Should they be upset? Yes. But even the 72-win Bulls lost to an expansion team in Toronto. But with the basketball capital the Clippers have built through the first half of the season, all you can do is step away from the panic button, brush aside the disappointment, and move on to more productive things:
- Andrew Han