Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul. After a slow start, Paul finished with 20 points, 11 assists, six rebounds and four steals while breaking Magic Johnson’s record of 11 consecutive points-assists double-doubles to start an NBA season.
X factor: Kevin Love’s night off. Love is dominant enough that he can fill a box score even when his shot isn’t falling, but a 2-for-14 night probably isn’t something the Wolves can survive against the elite of the Western Conference.
That was … clutch: Chris Paul had four points in the first 43 minutes of the game, but made up for that scoring 16 points in the final 5:07.
- Fred Katz
Tweet of the Night
Wolves have proven in these two games they can hang with the Clippers. They have also proven the Clippers are better. Sounds about right.
— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) November 21, 2013
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||21||2-4||0-0||1-3||0||3||3||0||0||2||2||4||+8||5|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Skip the first 1:10 — it’s bad. Otherwise, stay for the ongoing battle between Andrew and Patrick over who has the better wall pattern, as well as the trio’s entertaining draft of the league’s top power forwards.
Check Your Messages
It must be so comforting being Chris Paul’s teammate. That’s the thing about Paul. 43 minutes in, he can be having his worst game of the season, but by the game’s end, that game can end up being one of his best of the year.
Paul scored 16 points in the final 5:07 of Wednesday’s game. No matter what Kevin Martin did for the Wolves, he had an answer and really, was there any doubt he was going to miss a shot once he made his first couple?
Crunch-time Chris Paul was another monster tonight. It almost seemed inappropriate that he wasn’t wearing a cape. It made you want to say, “Alright, Clark. Stop. We know you’re actually Superman. Just put the suit on already.”
But that’s Chris Paul: deceitful, crafty, smarter than everyone, and tonight, an unhuman super ball of clutchness.
- Fred Katz
A New Reggie For A New Time
When the Clippers first made the leap, the season was shortened by lockout and their stars didn’t develop a coherent identity. Those who surrounded the principals, however already had one. They were about toughness. It was a team that beat Memphis on Beale Street’s terms, the grit n’ grind. And the Clipper who most thrived in that environ, Reggie Evans.
But the league has evolved since 2011 and a new Reggie, Reggie Bullock, is reflective of that. He’s strong and lanky; a good decision maker who can shoot and man-up an opponent’s best wing (Kevin Martin tonight). Like any rookie, Bullock can get caught absentmindedly ball watching, but his instincts go beyond just being in the right place.
At one point during the second quarter, Bullock laid a screen on Darren Collison’s man at the foul line-extended while also managing to seal off his man from interceding in the play. But Collison didn’t use the screen, instead going back towards the key.
Rather than making an immediate cut or even just relaxing towards the corner (where he had already made two 3’s), Bullock held his ground for an extra second keeping his defender behind him. Once Collison gave him some space, Reggie made a strong move towards the basket. Collison missed the cut and passed it elsewhere, but that’s the kind of timing needed of a wing in 2014. The kind of wing that marks the modern era.
- Michael Shagrin
Streaking In The Rain
From the outset, the Clippers went on a 12-0 scoring burst in the first three and a half minutes, and then went quiet for the next three as the Wolves put on a 10 point burst of their own. The second quarter was virtually identical to the first in this regard. In fact, the two teams put up the same number of points scored in each period except the 3rd. These two teams are so evenly matched in so many areas, but as is the case more often than not, Chris Paul pressed his dominance in the fourth quarter, and LAC came out with the win.
The Clippers extended their consecutive win-streak over the Wolves to a hearty seven in a row. The top three leaders this season in double-doubles each extended their streaks: Paul most notably with earning his 11th game in a row with double digit assists and points; despite a tough scoring night, Kevin Love still managed to reach his 12th straight double-double; and Griffin put together another solid game, putting up exactly 20 points and 10 rebounds, earning his 9th double-double of the season.
What does this tell us? For one, it reinforces the fact that Chris Paul and Kevin Love are sublime basketball players. Secondly, this is clearly a hell of a year so far for Blake Griffin as he is flirting with the all-around greatness so many of us have glimpsed from him over the past few seasons. But the most deceptive of these is the Clippers’ win streak. They are edging out Minnesota, but just barely, as their two victories in the last nine days came at a total of six points difference.
- Dylan Rice-Leary
Better To Be Lucky Than Point God
Since becoming a Clipper in 2011, a healthy Chris Paul has never shot under 40-percent for three consecutive games until this season. Surprisingly, Paul was in danger of shooting under 40-percent for his fourth consecutive game against the Timberwolves. Chalk it up to random error and bad luck because nobody really expects Paul’s overall field goal percentage to stay so low, but at what point do we worry about his three-point shot?
Last year was Paul’s worst season from the three-point line at 32-percent, and it has not been pretty this season either (21-percent). As evidenced tonight, Paul’s three-point shot keeps defenders on their heels and opens up the rest of his game. Few were surprised when Paul drained a three-pointer around the five minute mark and the Clippers pulled away for a victory under the “Point God.” But next time, if the cold streak continues, maybe Paul’s misses won’t be so surprising and we won’t chalk it up to being unlucky.
- Davis Vo
Birds Of A Kevin After Game Eleven
Kevin Love and Kevin Martin’s two-man game has given birth to a dazzling array of sets and screen action. It’s unfolding development is more than just a visceral delight; it’s left opponents in the dust.
At ESPN1500, Zach Harper illustrated their dynamic chemistry and included this YouTube clip. The first and last possessions are renditions of a set the Wolves burnt the Clippers with a few weeks ago.
Tonight, this simple but potent set wasn’t so fruitful. Redick immediately took note of what was about to happen, shifted to the other side of the screen and provided Griffin relief until he was able to recover. It was the perfect execution.
One possession may seem like a negligible element in the grand scheme of things but it’s one in a long line of examples that should eventually pay dividends for the Clippers. Minor adjustments are one in a crowd of idiosyncrasies that note the progression of a season. More importantly, they separate the extraordinary teams from the merely good.
- Seerat Sohi
CP3 Channels His Inner MJ(s)
Chris Paul took out his mouthpiece, stared down the Minnesota Timberwolves bench and stuck out his tongue.
Indeed, it was quite the MJ impression.
Paul took over in the final quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers’ 102-98 victory over the Timberwolves at the Target Center, scoring 16 of the team’s final 21 points. His clutch performance inspired a question coach Doc Rivers has been asking all season.
“[Doc] asked me what I was waiting for to be aggressive,” Paul told Fox Sports Prime Ticket after the game. “I told him, ‘I gotta see the ball go through the net, man.’ I haven’t made a shot in about five games.
“I’m like anybody else, I struggle with confidence at times. So I made a few shots there, Jamal [Crawford] kept talking to me and luckily I finally made a shot.”
- Jovan Buha at ESPN LA