They struggled to get their motor started as the Bobcats put up 30 points in the first quarter. But then the Clippers keyed in and only allowed 33 points in quarters two and three. Combined. Smooth sailing and a few show-stopping dunks are just what Los Angeles needed as they take off for a quick two-game road trip.
Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
MVP: Blake Griffin soared for 24 points on 14 shots, including six dunks – a game in which, unfortunately for Gerald Henderson’s self esteem, Griffin reminded everyone what he does best: leaping over extraordinarily tall men.
X Factor: Easy shots. The Clippers combined for 48 points in the paint – 16 more than the Bobcats had – in a dunk-infested game in which they got into the lane whenever they wanted.
That was…philanthropic: The Clips were in the spirit of giving, totaling 34 assists on their 41 made field goals. That means L.A. has now had 25-plus assists in five of its past six games.
— Fred Katz
Oh me oh my
That was not a smart decision, Gerald Henderson
Tweet(s) of the Game
Lob City could be renamed Assist Acropolis. Clippers have assisted on 20 of their 23 made field goals. Chris Paul has 11 of those dimes.
— Dime Alert (@DimeAlert) February 27, 2013
Really fun to watch his passing from the high post evolving. RT @mikepradasbn: Whoa, that pass by Blake Griffin.
— Kevin Draper (@TheDissNBA) February 27, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per36 Stat o’ The Night
Eric Bledsoe sat out with an aggravated left calf strain.
ClipperBlogLive’s Best Moment
Full house tonight as almost all the new ClipperBlog writers make their debut. Jeremy puts up a valiant effort, but Fred is a beast at the NBA Draft game.
Check Your Messages
And the worst joke of the night goes to…
All that tonight proves is that no matter what, I could never name my eventual child Bob (Katz) unless I want him to get embarrassed by Blake Griffin and the Clippers.
– Fred Katz
No Bledsoe? No Crawford? No problem. When you dish out 34 assists on 41 made shots, as the Clippers did against the Bobcats, good things happen. From the second quarter onward, the Clippers ball movement was masterful. Chris Paul paced everyone with 13 dimes, but maybe more impressive were the 6 assists that Blake Griffin handed out (to go along with his 24 points and 7 rebounds). For a guy who’s routinely labeled as “just a dunker,” he displayed some uncanny court vision. Of Griffin’s 6 assists, 5 were to either three-pointers or layups/dunks, meaning he was not only finding open guys, but also finding open guys for high-efficiency looks. This is by no means a new development—and, sure, Blake did more than his share of dunking tonight—but it’s an increasingly visible part of the young power forward’s game, even if too few people are looking at it.
– Patrick James
The Future Is (Not) Now
The Bobcats took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the #2 pick in last year’s draft. He is the youngest player currently in the NBA. He has an extremely bright future, but he isn’t contributing very much right now. However, that is through no fault of his own. The way MKG plays is one that is hard to take advantage of on a young team that is still learning to play together.
The most notable example of this is when he makes cuts to the basket. Gilchrist makes hard cuts, and he makes very well timed cuts, but the Bobcats rarely capitalize because their guards aren’t anticipating them. Kidd-Gilchrist will cut to the basket, but Kemba Walker or Ramon Sessions won’t realize it until he’s already halfway there. By that time, they’re already two steps behind and the defense is already reacting and rotating.
If you watch similar players on smart, experienced teams (like, say, Matt Barnes with the Clippers, or the ultimate example, Dwyane Wade cutting from the weakside when LeBron has the ball), everyone on the offense knows that a cut or dive is coming. The big men will adjust their spacing to open a lane, and the ballhandler will hit him with a well-timed pass that usually leads to a layup. With the Bobcats and Kidd-Gilchrist, the bigs don’t get out of the way, the pass is late, and more often than not it bounces off someone’s face for a turnover.
This isn’t to say that Kidd-Gilchrist is useless for the Bobcats offense (well, for right now he might be) – this type of offense takes years to fully develop (unless, of course, Chris Paul is involved). If you watch Paul and Barnes together, you can get a pretty good idea of what MKG will be capable of someday, and MKG has a higher ceiling than Barnes – he’s more explosive athletically and has better hands. As Kidd-Gilchrist and Walker continue to play together (or if MKG teams up with an all-universe point guard like Chris Paul), they’ll familiarize themselves with each other and develop a chemistry that facilitates this action. And then we’ll see them making plays like this.
– Jeremy Conlin
How to dismantle an atomic Mullens
Byron Mullens, while valuable to this Bobcats team, can be a bit of a thorn in the side. Basically, he just loves to shoot. The problem is that he’s shooting 31.4% from beyond the arc and 29.8% from 16-24 feet. Of course, this wouldn’t be such a pronounced problem if not for the fact that those are his most common shot locations. My reaction when he drained his first two jumpers went something like this. Why? Because for the rest of the night, he’d go 1-7 every time he hoisted a jumper. The term “regression to the mean” is not in Mullens’ vocabulary, so the phenomenon punishes him for it.
The litany of frustration that arises from watching Mullens play on a regular basis reached the point of hilarity long ago. I’ve now come to marvel at his lack of basketball IQ and/or self-awareness. Mullens proverbial moment of triumph came in the second quarter, when he A) actually posted up and B) made a concerted effort to get closer to the basket. Hitting a lefty hook over Lamar Odom isn’t the high-point of a game for most NBA players, but such is the plight of a power forward on the Charlotte Bobcats.
Unfortunately, he’d follow it up with a plethora of turnovers and fouls, factions of the game in which he finished with five and four, respectively. His low-point came in the third quarter. After bricking a three and fouling DJ on the other end, Dunlap took him out of the game. Whether it’s because he was a detriment or due to foul trouble, we’ll never know. Just know this: the dissection of Byron Mullens’ game is far more depressing than it is amusing.
– Seerat Sohi
Blue Steel or Magnum?
– Andrew Han