Just when it looked like things couldn’t go any worse for the Clippers, Chris Paul has no set timetable for his return and they dropped a winnable game to the lowly Phoenix Suns. Blake Griffin twisted his ankle and was hobbled, and Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford did as much as they could, but the Clippers just couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch, find consistent ways to score (they shot 39.8 percent) or keep the Suns off the charity stripe (Phoenix shot 37 free throws).
A couple of unintentional errors hurts them at the end — Crawford missed a free throw and Caron Butler committed a clear path foul on Shannon Brown — but the Clippers were sloppy and lethargic all night. Nine of their next 10 games are on the road, and while they only face a few difficult opponents, it won’t matter if they keep playing without much effort. In short: They need Chris Paul back, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Onto Last Call:
Recap | Box score
MVP: Goran Dragic. Whether he was in the pick-and-roll against a mismatched big or losing Eric Bledsoe off the ball, Dragic took full advantage of the CP3-less Clippers by dropping a game-high 24 points with 8 dimes.
Well that was … stagnant. The Clippers’ offense normally features cutters and smart ball movement, but instead there was an awful lot of standing and watching.
X-Factor: Blake Griffin’s ankle. Hobbled by a sprained ankle, Griffin took a backseat and only scored 12 points. Jamal Crawford was good, but a distributor and facilitator he is not.
– D.J. Foster
Tweet of the Game
No question Clippers had embarrassing loss tonight against Phoenix Suns, however it could be worse, they could be the Lakers.
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) January 25, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
D.J. Andrew. They abstain from the panic button and run a perfect two-man game.
Check Your Messages
Should we ever switch everything?
The concept of switching everything in any context doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Clippers implemented this defensive strategy without any regard for the matchup created by the switch. If Eric Bledsoe ended up covering Marcin Gortat in the post, so be it.
While the Clippers aggressive team-defense held the Suns to only 42% from the field, the problems associated with the frequent mismatches showed up in the form of free throws. Phoenix went to the line 37 times, making 28 of them, including five of six to ice the game in the final half-minute.
- Michael Shagrin
After a 2-for-11 shooting night, it might be time for Lamar Odom to cease jump shooting – or at least to drastically decrease his amount of jumpers attempted.
Odom has been clanking all season, but it’s not just his 12.2 percent three-point shooting that’s been an issue. Lamar is 9-for-57 (15.8 percent) from beyond 19 feet this year. That’s a problem in both quality and quantity. He doesn’t need to hang around the perimeter as much and when he does, he doesn’t need to force as many jump shots. It might be time to start realizing that.
- Fred Katz