The Clippers, still furious and embarrassed after their blowout loss to the Spurs last Thursday, decided on Saturday night to bully a team they’ve had a lot of recent success against — the Randy Foye-led Utah Jazz (insert joke here). The victory marked the Clippers’ six straight over Utah, including their first sweep of the Jazz since the 1978-79 season. Back then, the Clippers were in San Diego and the Jazz were in New Orleans (which is where both teams’ nicknames stem from). Oh, how things have changed. Blake Griffin had a SportsCenter-worthy game, but the surprises of the night came from Caron Butler (21 points), Lamar Odom (18 points) and a third-quarter flurry. Onto Last Call:
Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
No Dime tonight, folks.
The Blake Show
Tweet(s) of the Game
It’s Lamar Odom’s world and we’re just living in it.
— illastrate (@illastrate) February 24, 2013
Chris Paul on Lamar Odom: “I think Matt Barnes said he went into that Hot Tub Time Machine.”
— Justin Verrier (@JustinVerrier) February 24, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
Can you name all the former Clippers who’ve worn number 42? Neither can D.J. or Jordan. And, if that doesn’t entice you, Andrew serves up a mini compliment sandwich.
Check Your Messages
Ty Corbin Cares Not For +/-
After tonight’s loss, the Utah Jazz now sit six games above .500, good for seventh in the Western Conference. All told, they’re about as average as a team can get; entering tonight’s game, they had scored 5422 points and allowed 5427 points. In order to achieve the amount of success they have, it’s safe to assume that there are a few lineups that work well (unless you think it’s realistic for every single lineup Utah runs to have a +/- of zero). However, those lineups aren’t the ones they play very often. All of Utah’s six most-used lineups have negative +/- scores. It seems impossible that a team six games above .500 can be allocating so many minutes to inept lineups, but here we are.
– Jeremy Conlin
Matchmaker, make me a match
Out of all the teams in the Western Conference playoff picture (and even those on the outside looking in like the Lakers), the Utah Jazz probably represent the best matchup for the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. This would be an unspeakable premise just a few years back, as the Clippers losing in Utah was something you could always count on. For the first time since the Jazz were in their native land (New Orleans) and the Clippers were where they truly belong (San Diego!), the Clippers have swept the season series 3-0. History doesn’t really matter much with the Clippers anymore, and that’s a good thing, but the irrational fear of losing terribly to Utah has subsided. Maybe the fear of the Lakers is next.
As we saw tonight in a smaller sample, Utah is a terrible 3-point shooting team. Utah is 23rd in 3PM and 26th in 3PA in the league, so it’s not a shot they rely on. More importantly though, this is a team that can’t defend a lick (22nd in defensive efficiency) or collect defensive rebounds (24th in defensive rebounding percentage).
That’s perfect for the Clippers, mainly because they can’t defend against the 3 — they give up the 5th most 3-pointers made at the 5th highest percentage. That’s their weak point, and Utah is ill-equipped to exploit it. The Clippers are also a pretty good offensive rebounding team (9th in ORB %), so that’s another area they can really exploit.
So long as the Clippers can hang on to a top-3 seed, they’ll be a heavy favorite in their first round matchup. But if we’re going back to talking about fears, Houston and Golden State could definitely get hot from the perimeter and make it a series. It’s almost impossible seeing Utah doing the same.
Keep an eye on the standings down the stretch. The Clippers need to just win right now, obviously, but if it’s between Utah and Golden State for a first round matchup? Giving the Hollins-Turiaf frontline some burn down the stretch might not be a bad idea, if you know what I mean.
– D.J. Foster
As @DigbyHowis first pointed out on Twitter, Willie Green and Ronny Turiaf each played 47 seconds in Saturday’s win and each joined Mark Titus’ Club Trillion. If that’s not excitement, I don’t know what is.
– Fred Katz
Randy Foye is sixth in single-season 3-point makes for the Clippers. He is tied for second in 3-point makes in a single game, after that unconscious night Caron Butler had earlier this season against New Orleans. I just wanted to take a moment and thank Foye for his contribution to the franchise. He was brought in to help transition a team culture, ended up starting for Eric Gordon and later Chauncey Billups. And he was an integral part of last year’s playoff team for an organization light on meaningful seasons.
He was an opponent today, but he should always get a cheer for his service to Clipper nation.
Small sample size theatre
It’s shortsighted to overreact to single game’s numbers, especially against an overmatched opponent, but take note of the starters’ success in tonight’s game.
Chris Paul-Chauncey Billups-Caron Butler-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan:
Off Rtg: 118.7
Def Rtg: 58.5
Net Rtg: 60.2
That’s ridiculous. I know their gaudy ratings are primarily a result of the massive third quarter run, but still, a 60.2 net rating is unfathomable. The Jazz are clearly an advantageous matchup for the Clippers, but this type of dominance is insane.
For the season, this lineup is killing it (9 games):
Off Rtg: 119.2
Def Rtg: 100.9
Net Rtg: 18.3
Offensively, as you can see from both tonight’s game and their overall season numbers, this lineup would lead the league in points per 100 possessions by a significant margin. Defensively, they’d rank among the top 10. Any way you look at it, the starting lineup with Billups is arguably the Clippers’ best lineups (the Paul-Crawford-Barnes-Griffin-Jordan lineup has been a bit better). Maybe the semi-slumping Clippers didn’t need a trade; maybe they just needed Mr. Billups back.
– Jovan Buha