The Clippers have officially hit rock bottom. They’ve lost seven of their last nine games, just lost to the second-worst team in basketball, and as of right now are without their two All Stars. For those who don’t know, Blake Griffin sat out tonight’s game with a strained left hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.
What’s worse, the Clippers are now 34-16, tied in the loss column with the Grizzlies (30-16), and barely ahead of the Warriors (30-17) and Nuggets (30-18). With a couple more losses on the trip, the Clippers could drop from the one-seed a couple weeks ago to … the six seed. Yeesh, times have changed. One can only hope Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are back within the next week, otherwise this could get ugly.
Onto Last Call:
Recap | Box score
MVP: Martel Webster. Webster shot 5-for-6 from three and even added five rebounds and three assists. 21 points on only 10 shots is pretty darn good.
Well that was… clumsy: L.A. gave the ball up 20 times, helping the Wizards to 24 points off turnovers. The Clippers looked like a team on the second night of a back-to-back and the Wiz took advantage.
Defining moment: The Wizards broke out on a sloppy fast break, but three Clippers failed to streak down the court with them. Trevor Ariza ended up hitting two free throws, increasing the Wizards’ lead to six.
— Fred Katz
Tweet of the Game
So this is what not drafting Blake Griffin or trading for Chris Paul would’ve looked like.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) February 5, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
On hiatus until Chris Paul returns.
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Fluctuating on Bledsoe
Taped the Clipper podcast with Kevin this morning. Talked Bledsoe trades. KG. The Truth. I went on the record (as it is): Boston’s aging stars are intriguing… But I’ll pass. I was thinking about the dynamic yin-yang of this year’s team, the unique challenge of containing 48-minutes of Chris Paul’s control and Eric Bledsoe’s mania. How ordinary the Lob Mob looks without him.
Went for a jog. Daydreamed. No, dreamed. Game 7 in San Antonio. Crunch-time. I see Bledsoe, cheering on Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul from the bench. Tim Duncan and Pop are whispering, diagraming a play. They keep glancing over at Blake and Lamar.
Forget Bledsoe. He’s not even playing in this fantasy. Imagine KG, a stretchy center who would give Blake more space, an all-time pick and roll defender, talking constantly, directing the back line rotations like Chris Paul orchestrates the O. KG. I could see him in my mind’s eye down on all fours, howling up at the Staples Center crowd through a blizzard of blue and red confetti.
Turned on the game and watched Bledsoe badly miss his first shot. Tweeted something snarky about a bricklaying Bledsoe-Bradley Beantown backcourt.
Then he went Bledsoe in the second half. Just like he did yesterday in Boston. Impossible finishes. Deft fast break passing. His trademark hip-riding high-rising blocks from behind. And he made a few mid-range set shots.
That these were losing efforts is almost meaningless in terms of evaluating Bledsoe. Have we all been too quick to accept the conventional wisdom that says Bledsoe can’t possibly be worth as much to the Clippers as to a team in need of a starting point guard? Bledsoe is a unique athlete in a league of them, a game-changing defender. His shot isn’t broken, just unfinished. Isn’t it contingent on a team to figure out how to find that guy 28 minutes for the next five years?
In short, I changed my mind 3 times in 7 hours. That’s kind of the Eric Bledsoe experience.
– Jordan Heimer
At least Ralph Came to Play
Mike Smith: “Before you can achieve…you have to conceive.”
Ralph Lawler: “You’d know something about that with 10 kids.”
– D.J. Foster
Slow Start Stymies Clippers
Once again, the Clippers got off to a slow start and had rally late against a lesser opponent. In the first quarter, the Clippers scored just 16 points on 30 percent shooting and had four turnovers. Meanwhile, the Wizards scored 24 points and shot 55 percent from the floor. That set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Wizards gained confidence and played to their full potential, while the Clippers struggled to muster stretches of competent basketball. Besides a 34-second stint in the third quarter, the Clippers didn’t lead after the 9:56 mark of the first quarter.
– Jovan Buha at ESPN LA
Fakin’ and Fast Breakin’
The Clippers failed to come back on defense on two separate fast breaks Monday night. Of course, it was the second day of a back-to-back, but when a Wizards team throws up multiple misses on the same play and the Clippers find themselves with three players on the wrong side of the floor at the end of the possession, there’s a problem.
– Fred Katz
Bizarre Ride II
Matt Barnes gets ejected from the game in Minnesota. Rudy Gay makes a completely unexpected start for his new team in Toronto. Trade rumors surrounding Eric Bledsoe and Kevin Garnett suddenly spring up the morning of the game in Boston. Blake Griffin is a last-second scratch as the game was about to tip-off in Washington.
Not to tempt fate, but this Grammy Road Trip has had a weird mojo on the level of the water main break game in Memphis a few seasons back.
– Andrew Han