Editor’s note: It’s the preseason and we’re not going whole-hog Last Call because, let’s be honest, the Jazz 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
Here's Clips cover of Lakers banners. Like a combover – you can't help but stare because you know what's underneath. pic.twitter.com/kj2IvTxmsR
— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) October 24, 2013
Rudy Gobert on getting dunked on by Blake Griffin: "I thought about blocking it, but when I saw him in the air, I said, 'It was too late.'"
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) October 24, 2013
Check Your Messages
J.J. Redick, mechanism
J.J. Redick made his preseason Clippers debut tonight, and in spurts, he looked every bit the belle of the ball. Redick finished with 14 points, including 3 for 7 on 3-pointers, and he consistently exhibited the kind of incisive motion that led league GMs to vote him 2nd-best at moving without the ball (Ray Allen took first). On a night when both team’s play was uneven, Redick’s efficiency stood out.
This is a guy who does what he does and nothing more – he does fly to spots on the floor and launch 3s, he does curl around screens, he doesn’t handle the ball unnecessarily, he’s not a dunker. When he leaks out on a break or sprints down the baseline, as with Allen, you can see the play’s end before it’s barely begun: J.J.’s going to catch and let one fly, and it’ll be surprising if it’s a miss.
In that sense, Redick almost feels more like a feature than a player. Players are human, organic. Redick is a mechanism. Tonight you could see Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the team’s most effective distributors, exploring J.J.’s functionality, often finding him on the wing, cutting, or curling. If nothing else, by his presence alone Redick infuses the team’s sets with movement and spacing.
Can Redick guard big two-guards? Probably not. But who cares – tonight was about seeing him on the floor for the first time, with the other guys, doing what he does.
– Luke Laubhan
Discretion is the better part of valor
There’s a lot to be said for risking getting posterized (or worse) in hopes of preventing dunk. Then again, there’s a lot to be said for remembering it’s the preseason.
Tonight, the Clippers 1-4 pick-and-roll made an appearance, and it was a thing of beauty. Paul probed toward the left elbow, picking up his dribble as Blake Griffin crossed the half court line. Griffin saw this and responded by accepting a quick hand-off, and then giving and going and (only momentarily) setting a pick. When the defenders close in on Paul, he immediately fed Griffin the ball, at which point he took flight, with only Rudy Gobert in his way.
To the lengthy Frenchman’s credit, he challenged the shot. Even more to his credit, mid-air, upon realizing what was in store for him, changed his trajectory, adroitly ducking the dunk. He may have still ended up on a poster, but at least he’ll live to fight another day.
The Dudley abides
Jared Dudley is right where he should be. I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that. It’s good knowing he’s in the right corner. The Dudley. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the Finals.
Dudley as a complement
As D.J. brought up, Jared Dudley is majorly right-side dominant, which brings tremendous value to the Clippers, specifically.
With Dudley as a starter, he can hang out in the right corner and it won’t disrupt spacing for Blake Griffin in the post, who is a right-handed player, who likes to like up on the right block and head toward the middle of the floor on his post ups. With a wing player on the right side, it’s harder for a help defender to come over from the wing and double team Griffin on that post move.
– Fred Katz
Blake Griffin, playmaker
Before the game, Rivers spoke candidly about his confidence in Griffin’s passing and playmaking ability, and how he has an expanded role in the team’s new offense.
“I think he’s a terrific playmaker with the ball,” Rivers said. “I think after Chris, he may be our second-best playmaker and passer. We want to play through him in that way as well. … I really want Blake to score a lot and make plays.”
Griffin did just that. He had only two assists on the night, but he had a handful of good passes that merely led to missed shots by his teammates. He attacked well from the elbow and in transition, and was constantly looking to throw a lob to Jordan or kick out to an open shooter in the corners. All three of his turnovers came off forced passes, which is a natural byproduct of a player taking on a greater decision-making role.
Of course, Griffin’s new role doesn’t mean he’s done with his usual pyrotechnics — he posterized Utah’s 7-foot-2 rookie center Rudy Gobert off a pick and roll with Paul in the third quarter, drawing the loudest ovation of the night.
– Jovan Buha over at ESPN LA
Doc Rivers on the end of the preseason, "Amen"
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) October 24, 2013
– Andrew Han