Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Marc Gasol. The 7-foot-1 Spaniard dissected the Clippers’ defense from the high post and left block to the tune of 23 points and eight assists. Throw in his nine rebounds and otherworldly defensive skills, and Gasol was the biggest difference-maker.
Defining moment: The kick. As Chris Paul drove down the paint with 1:51 remaining in the first quarter, Tony Allen jumped up and bicycle-kicked him in the face. Allen received a flagrant foul 2 and was ejected, effectively removing the Grizzlies’ top perimeter defender.
LVP: The Clippers’ shooting guards, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford. They scored 20 points (14 less than their average) and were just 6-of-24 (25 percent) from the floor on a night when the Clippers needed a boost against Memphis’ suffocating defense.
– Jovan Buha
Tweet of the Night
Intent aside, and especially considering the history of choke-slams and near fights, dude kicks a dude in the face, he's gotta go.
— netw3rk (@netw3rk) November 19, 2013
If the NBA was a true reality show, the Clips and Warriors would conspire to vote Memphis out of the playoffs.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) November 19, 2013
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||14||2–5||2-4||0-0||0||2||2||0||1||0||0||4||-8||6|
|Ryan Hollins, C||6||0-0||0-0||1-2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||+2||1|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Special guest Kevin Draper of The Diss joins the crew to discuss how the Clippers match up with Grizzlies and what the appropriate time length is to remain optimistic that some of the new additions can turn their play around.
Check Your Messages
Force = Mass x Acceleration
Doc Rivers has such a comfortable ease in relaying his understanding of the game and his team. This was pregame, in reference to Blake Griffin’s in-game entanglements with opposing bigs:
“Blake is powerful and strong, but his speed makes him more powerful. The fact that he can do it at a higher speed, that, to me, gives him power… The back-down is great, but there’s bigger guys than you. But when you face and go with speed, no one’s more powerful than [Griffin]; with his body and the speed, that combination. I don’t know what that means, as far as someone can explain to me what speed and weight does. But I know it gives him more power.”
Not that Doc Rivers was trying to trying to morph into Professor of Physics Rivers, but have you heard a more cogent explanation of Griffin’s advantages? It’s the kind of observation, hidden in plain sight, that is especially salient against opposition like tonight: Griffin Force equals mass times acceleration.
- Andrew Han
…And Just Two Dunks
Over the early part of the season, Blake Griffin has mentioned several ways Doc Rivers has positively affected his game. On offense especially, Griffin has described how Doc encourages him to tailor his offensive attack to the opponent on a play-by-play basis. Tonight proved an interesting test for this “new” philosophy, as Griffin faced a Memphis frontcourt that’s often frustrated him.
In the game, Blake finished 11-of-21 for 23 points. Of those 21 shots, 12 came against Zach Randolph in a variety of forms. Notably, Griffin fought to establish deep post position on Z-Bo and scored the Clippers’ first four points on quick spin moves – he was clearly being decisive. Blake took six shots from 15-18 feet, four on Randolph and two on reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. Randolph never took a step outside the paint to challenge those shots, whereas Gasol closed out each time. Again, Blake didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger, which is good, though he finished 2-of-6 on those shots, which isn’t great. He did also use his speed to blow by Gasol on a closeout, which netted him a nice dunk.
Sprinkle in the usual mix of Griffin highlights – a ¾-court one-man fastbreak, a tip-dunk during which he leapt over a crouching Ryan Hollins – and you’ve basically arrived at Blake’s box score. Though it may not be apparent from the bottom line, it is clear Griffin is a more decisive offensive player, with an enhanced shot selection and a more nuanced approach to opponents. A work in progress? Sure. But it does seem to be working.
- Luke Laubhan
Out on the Wing
The final minute and a half of Monday’s loss to the Grizzlies was a perfect microcosm of the first 46:30 for the Clippers. The Clips couldn’t get anything going on the perimeter all game, even with Tony Allen ejected for most of the night. Late in the fourth quarter, when they needed a three most, Memphis cut off all their shooting options and forced them to look inside. The Clippers burned time and points. If the Grizzlies can contain the Clippers’ wings this well all season, they might be the toughest possible matchup for the Clips.
- Fred Katz
Space, Real And Imagined
One of the odd quirks of last season was how the Nuggets sometimes hid their big men out of bounds to create more space for slashers. It worked, as opposing big men often guarded the Nuggets’ players out of bounds.
Something of the same vein can tend to happen with Byron Mullens. Despite the fact that he’s only a 30 percent career 3-point shooter, it may feel a bit weird for opposing big men to leave him free to fire. Him standing on the perimeter, even though he isn’t a threat, can help open up the floor for the second unit. How a player is perceived to shoot may matter just as much as how he actually shoots. And, the logic may goes, that if a player is taking a lot of threes, he must be OK from out there.
On the other side of the equation is Blake Griffin. Griffin has become an average mid-range shooter for a big man, but his perception lags. He’s hounded far less in the midrange than big men with comparable shooting stats, like Carlos Boozer, mainly as a function of his perception. Griffin’s ugly form probably has something to do with that perception, too.
- Jacob Frankel
They Never Let Us Down
When these teams face off, try to get into the arena. If you can’t, run to your TV. In 21 head-to-head meetings over the last two regular seasons and playoffs, plus tonight’s game, the Clippers have won 11. Of course, each team has eliminated the other from championship contention in consecutive years, and in those aforementioned 21 meetings the Clippers and Grizzlies have each scored 93.6 points per game. It doesn’t get any more evenly matched than that.
This time, the head coaches were new to the rivalry (Dave Joerger and Doc Rivers replaced Lionel Hollins and Vinny Del Negro, respectively), and the Clippers debuted two starters (Redick and Dudley), but what we expected happened again: One point separated the teams at the half, it was tied after three quarters and the game wasn’t decided until the closing minute. Something tells me you should be circling their next two regular-season meetings on your calendar. Just call it a hunch.
- Aaron Fischman
Don’t Blame the Bigs
Competing against the best two-way center in the league and a bulldozer named Zach Randolph, the Clippers frontcourt was always going to struggle to leave their imprint upon the game. That Marc Gasol racked up eight assists conducting a beautifully efficient offense wasn’t a surprise: what lost the game was the Clippers’ guards inability to take advantage of a very favorable matchup.
Tony Allen was ejected after only 10 minutes for nailing Chris Paul with a crane kick. Mike Conley flirted with foul trouble early and only played 29 minutes. Against Jerryd Bayless, emergency shooting guard Quincy Pondexter and old man Mike Miller, the Clippers’ guards should have feasted. Instead Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick combined to shoot 6-of-24 with as many turnovers as assists, and Chris Paul never found the pace and tempo as malleable as he’s used to. It is telling that the only Clippers guard that came close to earning extra minutes with his play was Darren Collison, submitting a tidy eight-point, two-assist effort.
When these two teams play each other attention is always lavished down low, but it was the Clippers struggles far away from the basket that lost this game.
- Kevin Draper