Los Angeles Clippers vs. New York Knicks
March 17, 2013
12:30 p.m. PST
Last time the Knicks and Clippers got together, Eric Bledsoe went 6-for-6 from the field in a massive performance that helped the Clips earn a 102-88 victory at Madison Square Garden. Sunday, there is no Bledsoe or Caron Butler for another game. The Clippers have to continue to adjust. Now onto 3-on-3:
1. Could the Clippers be a potential slump buster for Carmelo Anthony (if he plays)?
Robert Silverman, KnickerBlogger, (@BobSaietta): Well, if you think he’s playing, I’ve got a Bridge in Brooklyn that’s priced to move. We’ve got a payment plan, some financing options. Step into my office…Yeah, it’s the walk-in freezer of a Grand Sichuan Chinese Restaurant in Chelsea. That doesn’t mean it can’t be an office, does it? Fuggeddaboutit. What we’re we talking about? Oh, right. Melo. Granted, if Melo plays it means the Knicks have decided to wholly forgo any and all of the tenets of modern medicine but given their reluctance to perform MRI’s or drain fluids or even get the leeches that Dolan keeps in a secret sub-chamber at MSG out of storage, who knows. Melo might just hobble on to the hardwood.
Assuming that’s so, and Melo does attempt to drag his mangled, viscous hinge around the Staples Center for 48 minutes, a combination of general rustiness and the feistiness of Matt Barnes should be enough to keep him more or less under wraps, launching a variety of contested, off-balance 15-20 footers. This is driving me to a state of pure anhedonia. What’s the next question?
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): Carmelo’s offensive repertoire means he can bust a slump against anyone, especially a team with spotty wing defense. Grant Hill did a nice job on Anthony to close out the third and fourth quarters of the last game, but it’s unclear how much floor time the team can allot him, as he’s been pretty uneven lately
Jeremy Conlin, (@jeremy_conlin): Assuming he plays may be an unwise assumption to begin with, and assuming he’ll be at 100% effectiveness seems even more unwise. Realistically, if he plays, he’ll probably be limited, and reduced mobility on his part will play right into the hands of the Clippers slow-footed wing defenders.
2. Eric Bledsoe was huge the first time these two teams matched up. How might his presence be missed Sunday?
Silverman: The one Knick offensive cog that’s been firing on all cylinders the last few games is the inscrutable force known as J.R. Smith. Bledsoe would definitely come in handy as an Earl-stopper, but then again, Portlandia did just fine, even with the ‘Bockers’ loose cannon performing at his absolute peak. I’m depressed again. One more, then I’m going to look myself in a dark room with no electricity and only my iPad for illumination/heat while I chain-listen to every Morrissey album I’ve ever owned. (And yes, we Knicker-backers like Morrissey, the Smiths, The Cure, the Magnetic Fields, et al. It’s a pretty emo-rific fandom.)
James: Bledsoe is the team’s best perimeter defender and a big reason that the Clippers pace the league in points off turnovers. The second unit is undeniably better when he plays, so the team will definitely miss him. That said, he averages just 21 minutes a game, so his presence is kind of always missed.
Conlin: Bledsoe is the type of player who can make handling the ball a living hell for geriatric guards like Jason Kidd. However, given how much of a train wreck New York’s backcourt has been of late, I’m not convinced that Bledsoe’s absence will be very noticeable. It’s doubtful that Jason Kidd will revert to his New Jersey days and dominate the game with a drive-and-kick offense.
3. How does Tyson Chandler playing or not playing affect the Clippers’ game strategy?
Silverman: If Chandler isn’t playing (and like Melo) the odds strongly suggest that he isn’t, on offense, the Clips need to pick and roll the Knicks to death. Even when Tyson was roaming the court like a multi-limbed, rabid hyena, the Knicks’ have proved to be utterly unable to stop top-shelf point guards from beating them into submission until they cry uncle/sign multiple treaties of surrender quicker than the French Army in 1939. In closing…gah. Do y’all have a good floor general? You do? Cliff something. He works for the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company when he’s not donning a Clipper uni. Sounds like quite the hale and hearty fellow. Y’all are gonna win by 30, easy. Happy now? HAPPY NOW?!?
James: It shouldn’t affect the strategy per se, but his absence ought to create opportunities for the Clippers to score in the paint and via the pick-and-roll. Plus if he sits, it means a lot more floor time for Kenyon Martin, which is always fun. Sure, Martin can blow up a pick-and-roll on D, but can he garner applause from his former fans?
Conlin: Without Tyson Chandler on the floor, protecting the front of the rim will certainly be difficult for the Knicks. This could prove fruitful for the Clippers, who, if you haven’t heard, are particularly fond of forcing the ball directly through the rim from close range. It could also provide a leg up for the Clippers in transition – DeAndre Jordan will undoubtedly be able to beat Kurt Thomas up and down the floor.
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