Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: The Clippers had no answer for Kevin Durant (28 points, 8 assists), who was able to effortlessly break into the seams of their defense and find open cutters and 3-point shooters.
X-factor: Points in the paint. The Thunder routinely got into the lane and won the paint war convincingly, 58-32. The Clippers, meanwhile, were stymied by OKCs length and athleticism, and were often forced to settle for contested midrange jumpers.
That was … anti-climactic: For a matchup that was billed as a potential preview of the Western Conference Finals, this game was seemingly decided moments after the opening tip. The Thunder led from start to finish — often by double-digits — and exposed the Clippers defensive shortcomings.
– Jovan Buha
Tweet of the Night
Blake Griffin is inching towards a Jordan Shrug.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) November 22, 2013
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||5||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||+2||0|
|Ryan Hollins, C||10||2-2||0-0||1-2||1||3||4||0||0||1||1||6||-4||5|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
The crew discusses whether the poor shooting performance or defensive breakdowns tonight are more to blame for tonight’s loss — which Jordan calls a false choice — and how much we can actually take away from a road game against a title contender on the second night of a back-to-back.
Check Your Messages
Playing with Pace
Second night of a back-to-back and without a integral part of their rotation (Matt Barnes), there isn’t a substantial amount I’d want to take away from that sort of game, but one point of interest:
In victories this season, the Clippers have had a pace of 101.0. In losses? 97.3. Tonight’s game ended with a pace of 97.0. We’ve come to expect a Chris Paul team to play with method and deliberation, but so far increasing the number of possessions has been their ally.
– Andrew Han
Not Such a Beautiful Mornin’
There’s no need to nitpick about the Clippers’ offense. They sport the second-best offensive efficiency in the league at more than 108 points per 48 minutes, all the while showing off a versatile set of scoring tools. But the Clippers have relied on the hot hand. And that’s fine in the regular season, but if the Clippers are trying to reach the NBA Finals, they may run into a team like say… the Oklahoma City Thunder. At this point, the nitpicking becomes necessary, because that’s what happening in the head coaches’ office across the hall.
Last night the hot hand was Chris Paul with a positive result. Tonight, it was Blake Griffin with a negative one. Oftentimes, it’ll be a scorching Jamal Crawford. It’s a strategy that works when you’ve got as much talent as the Clippers — one that works against a tired Timberwolves squad, not a well-rested Thunder juggernaut. Needless to say, we should cut them some slack for now. The playoffs are far off on the horizon and the offense is humming. But if it doesn’t mature before April, Chris Paul may once again be playing with little Chris in Bel Air rather than at Staples Center on Memorial Day.
– Michael Shagrin
Serge Ibaka Size Theater
While Kevin Durant has probably been the best player on the floor throughout the Clippers’ first two games against OKC, Serge Ibaka has been the far more effective one. Few players can match Blake Griffin athletically; not only is Ibaka capable of doing so, but he brings another factor to the table (length) that notoriously gives Griffin problems inside and one-on-one.
Besides the second half of the first meeting — when Ibaka was taking an early shower after the infamous altercation with Matt Barnes — the Thunder have been virtually in control of both games. How’s this: In the 47 minutes Ibaka has been on the floor, the Thunder are scoring 112.6 points per 100 possessions. In the 49 minutes Ibaka has been on the bench, however, that mark drops to an atrocious 92.8 points per 100 possessions.
The Clippers’ offensive production isn’t affected nearly as much — they score 99.6 points per 100 possessions with Ibaka on the bench, and 98.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor — but their shot selection is. With Ibaka on the bench, the Clippers are attempting 37.2 percent of their shots in the restricted area; when he’s on the floor, that drops to just 22.8 percent.
What’s more, Ibaka has been super efficient against the Clippers offensively — he has 30 points on 14-of-16 shooting so far and has lived off properly timed cuts and dives for easy layups, dunks and putbacks. Does this really mean anything? Perhaps not. But it’s possible that the Clippers need to adjust their game plan to negate the impact of the other 6-10 lanky Thunder forward.
– Jovan Buha
There’s no need to freak out about this one. No, the defense didn’t look particularly good. And no, the offense failed to get to the rim effectively and settled for some out-of-character shots all night, but this was as “schedule loss” as schedule losses come. The Clips were on the second night of a road back-to-back against a team that might be the best in the Western Conference. There isn’t much we learned from this game and there isn’t much to worry about either.
– Fred Katz
Blake Griffin needs to develop a post game…?
You hear this a lot, but rarely is actual data brought in to the conversation.
According to My Synergy Sports, a service that breaks down and tracks every play type, Griffin scored .88 points per play out of the post last year. Post-up opportunities comprised 35 percent of his offense. How does that compare to some of the league’s most revered post scorers?
Blake Griffin: .88 PPP, 35% post-ups
Kevin Love: .85 PPP, 24.9% post-ups
LaMarcus Aldridge: .94 PPP, 33.7% post-ups
DeMarcus Cousins: .81 PPP, 24.9% post-ups
Very rarely do you hear anyone harp on Love, Aldridge or Cousins about needing to develop their post skills, but Griffin was a more prolific and more efficient scorer than everyone except for Aldridge last season.
Does he always make it look pretty down there? Certainly not, but saying that Griffin isn’t a good post scorer flies directly in the face of the facts.
– D.J. Foster, via ProBasketballTalk.com