Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
MVP: Nikola Vucevic. Nik went beast mode with 30 points, 21 rebounds, and 3 assists. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin had no answer. This was a low-post seminar.
X factor: Blake Griffin Shooting Jumpers. It was the only the thing that kept the Clippers in this thing. No dunks, no lobs, no uptempo offense … at least Blake was knocking down jump shots.
That was … The Magic being taken for granted. Everyone is talking about what a great team the Clippers are, and they are, but Orlando just beat them. The Magic just took one from a great team in November.
– Nate Drexler
Tweet(s) of the Game
You can thank @jovanbuha for that “looking past ORL” comment when this turns into a trap game.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) November 7, 2013
DJ didn't like being called for a block. Harkless misses the FT and DJ yells "Rasheed Wallace."
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 7, 2013
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||11||0-5||0-4||0-0||0||0||0||0||1||0||2||3||-9||0|
|Ryan Hollins, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Fred hosts his first CBL. Also, Andrew blames the Clippers’ loss on Jovan overlooking Orlando and having an “Illuminati-level” USC connection with Nikola Vucevic.
Check Your Messages
What happened to all the communication? All through preseason, DeAndre Jordan (and to a lesser extent, Blake Griffin) were barking out commands, calling out schemes and screens from the back line. But the further we get into this nascent season, the quieter and more inconsistent it gets.
And that has ramifications not just at the macro level, but in the micro as well. Take a simple pick-and-roll in the fourth quarter: Andrew Nicholson sets a screen on the left side against Jared Dudley. But Griffin calls out the pick a step too late, forcing him to switch onto E’Twaun Moore with 14 seconds still on the shot clock. The result isn’t important (Moore drained an open 3-pointer when Griffin gave space) but the reversion is.
Communication in NBA defenses is a hard habit to form and an even harder one to maintain. Forget about slow rotation, all it takes is the hesitation to talk for the trust to evaporate and the dominoes to fall.
- Andrew Han
It took until the third quarter for the Clippers to string together back-to-back energetic possessions, and on a night where the starters were initially struggling, the bench’s lack of production didn’t help. Other than Jamal Crawford, who was the lone spark offensively, the only other person to score was Darren Collison, who went 0-for-3 from the field but hit two free throws.
The absence of Matt Barnes was keenly felt on both ends of the floor tonight. The Clippers’ bench was outscored by Orlando’s 34-14. This was in no small part due to the reserves-led comeback in the fourth quarter that ultimately won the game for the Magic. Tip of the hat to Jacque Vaughn for sticking with what was working.
Tough way to start this three game road-trip.
- Dylan Rice-Leary
Thigh Contusion Blues
Matt Barnes would not have let the Clippers lose this game. It probably wouldn’t have come from too much extra scoring (he’s only averaging 6 points per game) and it wouldn’t have come from hounding an elite perimeter player (only Nikola Vucevic had more than 12 points). Barnes gets the little things done — the box outs, the back-door cuts, that split second jump — and those are the impulses that first disappear when you lose your concentration.
It’s hard to blame the Clippers for looking lackadaisical in the fourth quarter. They had just come back from a 19-point deficit, a place they never should have been, and reimposed order on the unruly, supposedly tanktastic Magic. They treated the task as complete without recognizing the underlying truth that Orlando wasn’t just going to get walked over. When Jacque Vaughan calls two timeouts in 20 seconds to lament his team’s defense, you should understand that his players won’t be laying down.
All of this to say that if Matt Barnes, with his inextinguishable fire, was in the game during the fourth quarter, the Clippers would have kept their foot on the gas.
- Michael Shagrin
Blake Griffin and the Mid-range
The Clippers ran a Blake Griffin-centric offense tonight, which forced Griffin to take mid-range jumpers often and even in the closing minutes. He complied, making 7-of-13 shots from 16-23 feet. The hitch on his jumper temporarily came back for a possession at the 5:13 mark of the fourth quarter, but he responded by confidently draining a crucial jumper to give the Clippers a one-point lead with 2:05 remaining.
Griffin’s success from mid-range is a great sign for his basketball development and will theoretically open up space for him to drive. However, even with Griffin shooting well, the Clippers’ offense was stagnant tonight in comparison to its previous games. Is it possible that L.A. is capable of generating better looks?
This could simply be the result of missed jumpers, but it raises a legitimate question: how is Griffin best utilized in the Clippers’ offense? Is it in the post? Is it off a Chris Paul pick-and-roll when he can dive to the rim or make a brilliant pass to a weak-side shooter? Or is it when he receives a pass near the elbow and can decide to either shoot or drive?
- Davis Vo
He was wide open, but it worked. The Magic left Blake Griffin alone on the outside most of the game, but Griffin made Orlando pay, shooting 7-for-13 from 16-plus feet. Maybe his shot has improved more than people say.
- Fred Katz
Not including Arron Afflalo — who shot 2-of-7 from midrange — the Magic were a ridiculous 9-of-17 from 16-23 feet (about 53 percent). Even if you include Afflalo (so 11-of-24 overall), that’s a more-than-respectable 45.8 percent. Sure, a few of Orlando’s midrange jumpers were uncontested, but a majority of them weren’t.
The Magic made a lot of tough shots from the least-efficient area in basketball tonight. That happens sometimes, and there’s nothing even great defensive teams can do about it. This isn’t to excuse the Clippers’ poor defensive effort — at least they held an opponent under 100 points! — because there were at least a dozen head-scratching breakdowns. But teams are going to have great shooting nights occasionally, and when you respond by shooting a putrid 3-of-19 from deep, you’re going to lose by at least eight points on the road.
- Jovan Buha