L.A. Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers
Wells Fargo Center
February 11, 2013
4:00 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
It’s the final game of the Grammy road trip and the Clippers are actually in a position to put themselves at .500 for the 13-day, 8-game trip. With no Chris Paul for most of it, with no Blake Griffin or Jamal Crawford for selected games, the Clippers may actually come out of this thing in pretty good shape. Now, onto 3-on-3:
1. Where does Jrue Holiday rank among the NBA’s best point guards?
Jordan Heimer, (@jordanheimer): Higher than you think. Despite taking on ever more offensive responsibility, he’s never been more efficient – shooting a career high 38 percent from three. More impressively, he’s become a lockdown defender, equally capable of shutting down 1s and 2s.
Michael Shagrin, (@mshaggy): Second tier. Top tier: Paul, Rose, and Westbrook. Second tier: Rondo, Holiday, Irving, Parker, Curry, and Deron Williams. Like the most of these elite point guards, Holiday is the focal point of his team’s offense, leading the Sixers in points and assists. Moreover, his big body and excellent lateral movement on the defensive end have consistently caused opposing point guards fits.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): Ninth. I’d put Paul, Westbrook, Parker, Rose, Irving, Rondo, Curry and Williams all ahead of him (in that order). Despite increasing his usage percentage by six percent, his shooting percentages have remained the same, and he’s upped his assists and decreased his turnovers. He’s a stellar defender, a unique athlete and one of the bright young players in today’s game.
2. Would a 4-4 road trip be a successful one for the Clippers?
Heimer: Absolutely. Health is and was the primary concern of this trip. After the shellacking in Miami, a 4-4 road trip would feel like a gift.
Shagrin: Definitely. With a win in Philly, the “full squad” record will be a respectable 2-1 with that single loss coming against the defending champs. But rather than judging this road trip by its concrete statistical outcome, the success of the Grammy road trip should be measured by the answer to this question: With Chris Paul back in the lineup, will winning, once again, become business as usual?
Buha: No, whether they go 4-4 or 3-5, this is not a successful trip. The Clippers had no excuse for duds in Toronto and Washington, with or without Chris Paul (Washington was more understandable, but still, the Clippers blew that game). Losses to Miami and Boston make sense, and even a loss to New York would have, but the Clippers should have gone 5-3 at the very least. As one of the elite teams in basketball, the Clippers shouldn’t view a moral victories as true wins (and neither should we).
3. Should DeAndre Jordan be more involved in the Clippers’ offense?
Heimer: Basketball players are people too. DeAndre’s newly (somewhat) polished post game reflects the work he put in this offseason, and his 40 minutes and 22 boards the other night show he’s capable of sustained success. Feeding him the rock is how a coach shows his appreciation for the hard work.
Shagrin: Yes, but not at the expense of more polished players at crucial junctures in the game. The strategy of feeding DJ early in the first quarter has a lot of merit because it not only gets him involved and willing to play on both ends of the floor but it also forces the defense to direct more of their focus to the 7-foot tall athletic freak under the basket as the game wears on.
Buha: Yes. The Clippers have gone away from feeding him early in games, and his play has wavered. If you’re not going to play your franchise center late in games, or more than 24 minutes a night, at least give him the ball for a few possessions in the first and third quarter.