Same plot, different ending. The Warriors defeated the Clippers, 106-99, behind a barrage of Stephen Curry 3-pointers (6 of 8 3PTs), and missed Clippers opportunities (12-22 FTs). Golden State has won the season series, 3-1, and seems to have the Clippers’ number (or just good luck). Just like the Orlando game, the Clippers wasted a magnificent Blake Griffin performance — 26 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists.
The controversy of the game, which is covered later by DeAndre Jordan’s mom’s tweet, is that Chris Paul looked hobbled and still logged 33 minutes. Whether he should have played, or rested for tomorrow night’s game against OKC, is up for speculation. Grant Hill also sat out, in preparation for the Thunder game. Still, there’s no reason to panic, as the Clippers have the second-best record in the league.
Recap | Box score
MVP: Stephen Curry. His 28 points and six assists led the Warriors out of their fourth-quarter rut, and the Clippers had absolutely no answer for his off-the-ball movement. Six of eight from downtown is ridiculous.
X-Factor: 3s and free throws. As has been the case all season between these two teams, those two factors determined the outcome. Golden State was the more efficient offense, if only slightly.
Well that was…a shootout: Both teams made double-digit 3-pointers and were shooting well more than 50 percent for most of the game. The fast-paced tempo dared each team to one-up the other with a barrage of treys.
-Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog
Since we didn’t talk about him enough on ClipperBlog Live, here are Blake Griffin’s highlights from today.
Tweet of the Game
Come on u don’t have to go and watch film to know that u shouldn’t have played him. He was limping the entire game
— Kimberly Jordan (@callmeMISSKIM) January 21, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
I botch the 30-second recap, and Andrew talks about his favorite sushi places. There’s some basketball talk in there, too, so check it out.
Check Your Messages
Wake Up Call
I’m generally a grouch before 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I justify my curmudgeonly behavior by telling myself that a college student’s sleep schedule is erratic by nature, with homework piling up around midterms and finals along with the occasional project or paper. Professional basketball players, on the other hand, have no such excuse, so its time to call out the Clippers.
So far this season, the Clippers are 3-2 in matinee performances. That means they’re only slightly worse in the afternoons than they are night, right? Wrong.
Two of those wins (vs. PHX and vs. TOR) stand out in particular, taking place on a Saturday/Sunday back-to-back in December. The Clippers were only able to escape these lottery-bound teams with heavy reliance on a scorching-hot Jamal Crawford in the fourth quarter. Going into the final frame, the Clips led the Suns by two points and the Raptors by four. In both games, Jamal Crawford took over from there. He went for 13 points in the fourth against Phoenix and 16 points against Toronto. The Clippers outscored their opponent by a combined 31 points during the final quarter over that weekend (+16 vs. PHX, +15 vs. TOR).
It’s common knowledge in basketball circles that NBA players, as part of individualized routines, generally LOVE TO NAP. Now, I’m not saying that the Clippers love napping more than the rest of the league (we’d have to look at matinee results for all 30 teams to make such an inference), but this team seems to acutely subject to afternoon lethargy. Luckily, if the pattern is recognized, its an issue Vinny Del Negro can address.
- Michael Shagrin
Versatility is the key
The Warriors rang up a fair amount of their shots with off-ball cutting and screening. And by leveraging the Clippers’ over-aggressive defense, it was just a matter of making the extra pass to find wide open shots.
Hill being rested tonight turned out to be a bigger factor than expected. With Chris Paul hampered by injury, a Bledsoe-Barnes-Hill perimeter trio with Odom and Griffin on the backline could have mitigated a lot of the screening essentially by switching everything under the sun. Versatile defenders would to avoid getting turned around and knotted up by the Warriors’ offense. And one of the key focuses of Los Angeles in rebuilding their bench this past offseason was versatility. Just one fo the reasons I’m not overly concerned with the Clippers’ struggles in Northern California.
- Andrew Han