Editor’s note: It’s the preseason and we’re not going whole-hog Last Call because, let’s be honest, the Suns are not going to be world-beaters this season. Also, did I mention it’s still the preseason? Still, we have some takeaways from the game, packed in a nice little doggy bag for you to nosh on the way home.
Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
Tweet of the Game
Get back to your seats! The 3rd quarter of a preseason game is starting! pic.twitter.com/nuiBNBlt1l
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) October 16, 2013
Fun playing against my lil bro @EBled2 tonight…miss ya bro!!! Stay healthy…
— DeAndre Jordan (@deandrejordan) October 16, 2013
Speaking of Bledsoe…
Eric Bledsoe Per 36 Stat O’ The Night
Check Your Messages
A Preseason Game With Feelings
Well, this sure was a preseason game. Half the starters sat again, and, predictably, the game ebbed and flowed depending on Chris Paul’s presence, before getting kind of funky late.
At least the night was mildly emotionally interesting. Clipper fans were treated to their first encounter with Eric Bledsoe in purple and orange, Jared Dudley marked his return to Phoenix with 12 points (including 2 for 2 on 3-pointers), and Alvin Gentry, ex-Suns coach, assumed Clipper coaching duties when Doc Rivers fell ill at halftime. Let’s just say Doc didn’t miss much.
As it has been for most of the preseason, the highlight for Los Angeles was DeAndre Jordan’s defensive activity. After averaging 7.5 rebounds and 5 blocks in the first two games, DJ finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and, yep, 5 blocks. Time will tell whether DeAndre can maintain his newfound defensive focus – it’s a long season – but this is where it has to start. So far, so good.
- Luke Laubhan
Late Game Wants and Needs
As down-to-the-wire games are concerned, this one was pretty forgettable. But we did get a chance to see how the Clipper reserves would handle a few tense minutes with the outcome up in the air. Just when it seemed like they’d cough up the game, Darren Collison delivered a clever pocket pass to a cutting Lou Amundson off a pick-and-roll. It was just the sort of late-game post-time-out play-call that fans yearned for last year (and that Doc Rivers is famous for). Except Doc didn’t call the play (he left the game at half-time), so what exactly does it signify?
Maybe not much. As our own Kevin Arnovitz and Jordan Heimer mentioned in Tuesday’s Clippers Podcast, last year’s team (with all its uninventive, overly simple offensive schemes) actually posted an absurdly good scoring rate in late-game situations. What Los Angeles still needs to work on is late-game defense — the lack of which is why Phoenix was in the game in the first place.
- Patrick James
This What You Been Waiting For, Ain’t It?
Tonight we caught our first glimpse of Clipper small ball.
Jared Dudley checked in for Byron Mullens at the 4:05 mark of the second quarter, effectively shifting to power forward for the first time this preseason.
A 16-7 Clipper run to end the first half. During that span, Dudley broke out of his preseason shooting slump and made two long 2s and two 3-pointers, scoring 10 of his 12 points.
The Clippers had optimal spacing on offense, and were able to at least survive defensively — they forced the Suns into three turnovers and DeAndre Jordan blocked two shots.
After the starters struggled in the first half of the third quarter, Alvin Gentry reverted to the small-ball lineup again at the 5:05 mark, inserting Jamal Crawford for Mullens.
Up until that point, the Clippers had struggled to grab defensive rebounds and get stops, thus slowing down their transition game to a halt and forcing them into tough, grind-out possessions. The presence of four shooters decongested the Clippers’ mucked-up offensive flow, and they ended up outscoring the Suns 10-7 (after blowing a 16-point lead).
It’s an extremely small sample size, against a below-average opponent no less, but the Clippers’ small-ball attack was pretty successful in a nine-minute span (they outscored the Suns 26-14). One can only imagine what the results will be when Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick are added to the mix.
- Jovan Buha