It wasn’t pretty — and it vaguely reminded everyone of the Orlando loss — but NBA folk always say the first game back from a road trip is the hardest. Doubly hard if it’s an opponent the Clippers are expected to beat handily. And every team, good or bad, is out there to “punk” one of the good teams. That’s right, the Clippers walk around with a bullseye on their back.
Recap | Box score
No Daily Dime tonight. So instead, enjoy the Clippers’ power foward run the break and throw a lob to the center.
Tweet of the Game
100 percent honest: #Clippers dance team performs to “Devil with the blue dress on.” Joey Crawford mouths all the words.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 20, 2013
Sadly, Joey Crawford didn’t sing along to Kanye West’s “Stronger.”
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 20, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
For Jordan’s de fact Facetime, he explains what all the ruckus was about in the crowd during the third quarter. A WWE heel move!
Check Your Messages
Trap games are real, and, at least for this year’s Clippers team, easy to define: weekend games against middling opposition in front of a lackluster home crowds are trouble. To his credit, Vinny Del Negro – for whom the Orlando loss is doubtless still fresh – was doing everything he could to find a smooth lineup in this choppy game, which included debuting two-never-before-seen groups.
The Clips closed the first half with 6 minutes of Paul, Crawford, Barnes, Hill and Blake. It demonstrates how far Blake has progressed as a defender in Vinny’s eyes, because last season Del Negro openly admitted his reluctance to play him at the 5. The Wiz tried to take advantage of the perceived mismatch by forcing the ball in to Nene in the post, but the Clippers collapsed effectively, forcing the ball out of Nene’s hands, and recovering quickly to trouble the Wizards’ suspect perimeter shooters.
New line-up #2 was Paul, Bledsoe, Barnes, Hill, Lamar Odom, who played together for a few minutes midway through the fourth. Why is this so interesting? Because nine times out of ten, Bledsoe gets pulled for Crawford here. But VDN, realizing that John Wall was the most dynamic player on the court, left Bled in to chase him around, rather than asking a still-bruised CP3 to take the tougher cover. That’s right: tactical adjustments, people! As Andrew Han said on CBL, it’s enough to give a girl the vapors.
- Jordan Heimer
What Happened to the Choice Cuts?
At the outset of the season and through the early segment of the 17-game winning streak, the Clippers made their money from off-ball movement. While Jamal Crawford’s individual brilliance facilitated the scoring on the second-unit and the Paul/Griffin duo carried the offensive load for the starters, the remainder of the Clippers persistently moved to open space in order provide secondary options for the principals. It was this opportunism that enabled the Clippers to dismantle poor and premium opponents alike. But recently, cutting has given way to a sort of drifting. Maybe there’s an element of midseason fatigue or maybe the cutters have developed a preference for outside shots. Nonetheless, isolations are more frequent, as are contested shots from the outside. But most significantly for the Clippers offensive strategy, there’s a marked decrease of secondary action when the ball goes into the post. Given opposing defense’s historic success in slowing down the Clippers by doubling Blake Griffin, getting in the habit of laboriously moving off the ball wil absolutely pay dividends come the playoffs.
- Michael Shagrin
One of the things I like to watch are what a team runs out of a timeout, especially in late clock situations. In Houston, the Clippers ran a very simple, but effective, give-and-go between Barnes and Odom that got Matt a wide open look from three. Miss.
Tonight, with about 3 seconds left until halftime, the Clippers picked a play in the timeout and went at it again: Griffin set a high pick for Crawford’s man and rolled to the basket. Hill set a backscreen for Barnes, the inbounder, and Barnes broke for the corner. Hill’s man had already collapsed to the paint because a diving Griffin is a recipe for a highlight. This left Barnes completely open in the corner.
Now, Wall tipped Paul’s dribble and nothing materialized as the play broke down; not even a shot. But there is definitely some reasoned thought going into these designed plays.
- Andrew Han
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