The Clippers are a merciful king! That’s how we’ll have to spin a pretty lackluster effort from the Clippers against the injury-ravaged Timberwolves. Perhaps it’s understandable that on the last game of another swept road trip, the Clippers exerted the minimal effort required and nothing more. After all, that’s why they have those walkway escalators at the airport, folks. Just coast to your next location (and stand to the right for god’s sake) because it’s ClipperBlog’s Last Call:
Recap | Box score
MVP: The Clippers bench. Led by Jamal Crawford’s 3-point shooting and Ronny Turiaf’s energy (plus his 5 for 5 shooting night) the Bench Mob throttled the Wolves. They averaged a +11 on the night.
X-Factor: The Wolves’ terrible shooting. All year, the Wolves have struggled to make every kind of shot imaginable. They got solid looks all evening, but still knocked down just 35.7 percent of their shots. They bricked threes, dunks and everything in between.
Well that was…damn unpretty: Without Chris Paul and with Ricky Rubio still struggling, there was no one to give this choppy, physical game any flow. The Clippers booted the ball all over the floor; the Wolves blew layups; it was pretty ugly.
–Benjamin Polk, A Wolf Among Wolves
Tweet of the Game
Most guys celebrate because they score. Ronny Turiaf scores because he can then celebrate.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 18, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
Ricky don’t shoot that jumper. You want to pass the ball to somebody else. Send it off the backboard, to yoooooourself.
On second thought, former Clipper Ricky Davis is more Steely Dan appropriate. Jerry Sloan approves:
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
Andrew tries a double entendre but just makes blatant sexual references instead, Fred insists that San Francisco has a professional basketball team, and I relive flag football failure through DeAndre Jordan. Go team!
Check Your Messages
Bringing along some Green
Clippers fans have an ambivalent relationship: he’s understood to be a placeholder for Chauncey Billups, but he’s expected to produce like a starting shooting guard for a team with title aspirations until Mr. Big Shots return. “A pro,” as Del Negro says.
But this isn’t about that. It’s about the insane disparity between his home and road 3-point shooting.
Home: Above-the-break 3: 33.3% | Corner-3: 51.9%
Road: Above-the-break 3: 26.3% | Corner-3: 40.7%
On this most recent three-game trip:
Road: Above-the-break 3: 100% | Corner-3: 60%
Obviously, this is small sample size theater, but if Green can bring his road splits up to his home levels, he could evolve from an appreciated spot filler to a dedicated marksman.
– Andrew Han
Matt Barnes had more air balls (two) than three-pointers made (none) against the ‘Wolves, but he still played decently enough to contribute. His scoring is always important (the Clippers are now 22-1 when he posts double-digit points off the bench), but it’s Barnes’ rebounding that we might take for granted. If the Clippers’ biggest flaw (and there aren’t many) is that they struggle on the boards, Barnes’ contributions as an above-average rebounder on the wing are massive. After his six boards tonight, the Clippers are now 16-3 when he grabs five-or-more rebounds.
Defense is Key
There are many reasons why the Clippers were able to go 3-0 over the past three games without Paul, but perhaps the biggest reason has been the play of their defense. The Clippers held Minnesota to just 35.7 percent shooting from the field and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc. Minnesota’s 77 points were also a season low for its team. In fact, during the Clippers’ three-game trip they held Memphis and Minnesota to a season low in points.
“We just got stops defensively, both teams I felt like missed a lot of shots and it was a sloppy game,” Blake Griffin said. “I know it was a sloppy game for us, but we got stops down the end. Stops lead to quick buckets and kind of get us going a little bit.”
–Arash Markazi at ESPNLA.com.
Quick — who is the best Clippers rebounder per36 minutes this season? Nope, not Blake Griffin. Not DeAndre Jordan either. Believe it or not, it’s Lamar Odom, a guy who went from not being able to jump over a piece of paper earlier in the season to being able to jump over one of those thick pieces of paper you’re supposed to print your resume on now.
All jokes aside, Odom has very quietly been able to assert himself as a solid 3rd big man by accounting for all the things Griffin and Jordan sometimes struggle to do. He’s the best pick-and-roll defender on the team by far, he’s the most “technical” rebounder in terms of boxing out, and he’s the stretchiest backup big on the roster thanks to his passing. Odom’s two points against the Wolves won’t make waves, but his defensive rebounding (12 rebounds) and distributing (6 assists) made him one of the most valuable players on the floor, even if he wasn’t putting points on the board.
On Tap: Washington on Saturday at 7:30pm PT