Recap | Box score
MVP: Grant Hill. Chris Paul guided the Clippers home, but Grant Hill stopped the Melo tide. Anthony had 38 points through 3 quarters and was heating up. Once old-man Hill was assigned the task? 4 points for the entire 4th quarter.
X-Factor: #ATribeCalledBench showing up in the Garden. Bledsoe back with the second unit showed why the Clippers’ reserves were so feared earlier in the season. 48 points for Los Angeles’ bench compared to 13 for New York says it all.
That was… a relief: After losing 8 of their last 11 and getting thumped by Miami, the Clippers resembled a complete team again. It’s only one win over a solid Knicks squad, but Los Angeles has slowed the waves of anxiety in Clipper Nation.
— Andrew Han
Tweet of the Game
Blake Griffin’s weaknesses are evaporating. “All he does is dunk,” except he does everything.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) February 10, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
A decided East Coast flavor on today’s show: Jordan from Miami, Fred from Madison Square Garden, Andrew from the woods… East Coast woods.
Check Your Messages
One of the most disconcerting trend of recent Clippers losses has been their wing defense — LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce have had their way with basically whomever the Clippers put on them. But today, after not playing last game against the Heat, Grant Hill, 40 years, stepped up and helped stymie Carmelo Anthony.
Look no further than Anthony’s numbers:
Hill on the floor (13 minutes): 9 points, 3/6 FGs, 1/3 3PTs, 2/2 FTs, 0 REB, 0 AST, 2 TOs, 0 STL, 0 BLK
Hill on the bench (30 minutes): 33 points,11/20 FGs, 4/8 3PTs, 7/7 FTs, 8 REB, 1 AST, 2 TOs, 1 STL, 1 BLK
Anthony still shot 50 percent against Hill, but he didn’t get to the line as much and was rendered ineffective in virtually all other aspects. He was glued to Anthony and forced him into tough, contested shots that Melo happened to hit because he’s that good offensively.
Matt Barnes has exceeded expectations as a spot-up shooter, cutter and defensive stopper (and will probably remain the closer down the stretch in most situations), but it was nice to see a glimpse of what the Clippers hoped for this offseason when they signed Hill.
– Jovan Buha
The Value of a Good Tip
During the first three quarters, Tyson Chandler followed an array New York missed shots with clever swipes at the ball, tipping it back his teammates to give the Knicks an extra possession on at least five occasions. What could be more debilitating for the Clippers than playing great defense for 20-plus seconds and forcing a miss, only to give up an offensive board and have to do it all over again? Quite frankly, the Clippers were lucky that Chandler’s activity didn’t result in more Knick baskets. (The Knicks followed at least two Chander offensive rebounds with turnovers.)
That said, the most timely tip to a teammate came not from Chandler but from Griffin, at about the 4:30 mark in the fourth quarter. It was one of Blake’s three vital offensive rebounds in the fourth, each of which resulted in a score (two Blake jumpers and one trip to the free-throw line) on the ensuing possession. In a game where Griffin sometimes struggled to get back on D after a missed call, it’s fitting that doing a little dirty work earned him some extra points—and, more importantly, helped get the team a much-needed road win.
– Patrick James
Don’t Say Over the Hill
Carmelo Anthony in the third quarter: 18 points.
Carmelo Anthony in the fourth quarter: 4 points.
That’s not a coincidence. Grant Hill’s fourth-quarter defense on Melo may have been the key in this game. He was quick, intelligent, and crafty.
Essentially, this was exactly what the Clippers hoped to see out of Hill when they signed him over the offseason. No, the numbers weren’t gaudy, but stopping Melo is a major key to stopping the Knicks. Hill proved he could do that and if his defense continues to be as strong against good wing scorers for the rest of the year, the Clippers may have found the midseason acquisition that everyone says they need so badly.
– Fred Katz
Assessing the Odds
Both Vegas and John Hollinger’s playoff odds peg the Knicks and Clippers (along with the Nugs) as fringe contenders, long shots compared to the Heat, Thunder, or Spurs. Today’s game highlighted a commonality keeping them out of that upper echelon: neither team can maximize their offense without succumbing to defensive ineptitude.
It was funny to hear the national color guys say Crawford “did it all today,” because of course he did nothing of the sort. He did the one thing he does – score – really well. But between making shots he died on screens, over dribbled into turnovers, botched multiple assignments in transition. Chauncey Bullups looked good spotting up for 3, but struggled in every defensive facet of the game, slow to rotate, slow to recover, unable to contain a still-recovering Iman Shumpert off the dribble.
Meanwhile, after essentially blaming Mike D’Antoni for his weak defensive reputation, Amar’e continues to imitate a statue in the lane – when was the last time you saw Lamar Odom beat someone to the rim off the dribble? Compliments about Jason Kidd’s “positional” D within a “team scheme” are code for “can’t be left alone on the wing.” Shumpert, still recovering from his ACL, hasn’t regained his horizontal agility.
Basketball is not a sport that rewards platoons. The best players excel at both ends of the court. As long as the Knicks and Clippers continue to rely on crunch time line ups that emphasize shooting at the expense of solid D, the odds remain long that either team competes for a championship.
– Jordan Heimer
Bench lineup, Starter ingredients
Bledsoe was sorely missed amongst the reserves. Not quite the same story as the Clippers’ star floor general out, #ATribeCalledBench was on life support when Chris Paul was sidelined. Back with the Merchants of Chaos, Bledsoe was unleash his natural ability, unfettered by responsibilities of pace and managing the offense.
Lastly, Del Negro went with a hybrid combination of a three-guard lineup and a revised bench lineup to end both halves: Paul-Billups-Crawford as the guards, Hill/Barnes-Griffin as the two bigs that Los Angeles usually has as a second unit SF-PF frontcourt composition. It’s a new wrinkle the Clippers haven’t shown, possibly due to lack of health. But it will be interesting to see how relied upon this lineup becomes and how it will fare in a more reasonable sample size.
– Andrew Han