Los Angeles Clippers
New Orleans Pelicans
MVP: Blake Griffin set the tone early, and carried L.A.’s offense every time New Orleans got close. He even showed his range by draining two three-pointers. He finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in just 32 minutes of play.
LVP: Jason Smith looked completely outmatched against L.A.’s bigs, as he finished with just two points and a team-low minus-14. Smith always gives full effort, but tonight he was simply overwhelmed by the athleticism of Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
That was … the deciding factor: The Clippers took 36 free throws, while the Pelicans only shot 20. Los Angeles was the more aggressive team all night long, and the Pelicans bailed the Clippers out by fouling them on several jump shots, including two from beyond the arc.
- Michael McNamara
Tweet(s) of the Night
Biggest smile I've ever seen on Eric Gordon's face is when he just encountered Ralph Lawler outside the visitors' locker room at Staples.
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) December 19, 2013
— Dj Dense (@DJDENSE) December 19, 2013
Defensive Rating Update
Despite holding the Pelicans to 95 points and actually improving their defensive rating from 100.6 to 100.5, the Clippers dropped from seventh to eighth in the rankings.
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||3||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||-1||0|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Fred runs a solo show since Jovan, Andrew and Jordan couldn’t conquer Staples Centers’ spotty wifi connection. Enjoy.
Check Your Messages
Jackson Won’t Just Help On The Wing
With J.J. Redick down, Jared Dudley slumping, and Willie Green still Willie Green, Stephen Jackson was signed to bolster the depth on the wing … right?
Maybe not. The Clippers’ bench squad played almost entirely four-out tonight, with Jackson as the power forward as the offense revolved around three-point shooting and DeAndre Jordan pick-and-rolls. As rusty as Jackson is, it’s a scheme that actually brings some offensive potency to the second unit. And maybe even more importantly, it takes the dreadful defense of Byron Mullens off the floor.
- Jacob Frankel
Among Western Conference teams, the Clippers have the best record against the West (12-3) and the most losses against the East (six). This makes absolutely no sense.
- Jovan Buha
Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Timeout
Coaching staffs congregate at mid-court at the start of every timeout. Whether this is to compensate for commercial breaks or just because coaches like to chat Gossip Girl a bit first, I don’t know. What I do know is that Tyronn Lue, for whatever reason, does not qualify for such mid Kurt dalliances. Instead, Lue is on the bench and in the players’ faces, pointing out mistakes and areas to focus on.
For a team still working out the kinks, extra coaching time is invaluable.
- Andrew Han
This was the first time that Blake Griffin has hit multiple three-pointers in a game, which is fun only because the degree of difficulty for Blake to do something he hasn’t already done is exceptionally high.
But here’s something to think about: what if Griffin shooting threes became a thing? Griffin has only made 19 3-pointers in his career, but perhaps there’s hope for more down the line
Take Paul Millsap, for example. Millsap started his career by making two 3-pointers in four years, but now in his 8th season, Millsap is shooting above 40 percent from deep and has made 23 three-pointers this season.
This is just a friendly reminder: there’s room for Griffin to grow and transform his game. This is not his final form.
- D.J. Foster
A Shot Of Jack
As Doc Rivers and Chris Paul have been quick to point out, Stephen Jackson is still out of “basketball” shape. He’s a little overweight — Doc chose the word “big” tonight — and it has shown. He’s not shooting well and gets gassed easily. On the surface, his per-game stats are horrible. Unplayable, even.
But boy does he do so many little things right defensively.
Though not a lockdown on-ball defender due to age and a lack of elite athleticism, Jackson’s work off the ball is impressive. He uses his basketball IQ and immense length to poke at unsuspecting drivers, tip rebounds and block shots from the weak side (he had one block and one steal tonight). He’s in the right spots more often than not, and his eyes move on a swivel between his defender and the ball.
Offensively, Jackson provides the Clippers with a unique skill set that neither Jared Dudley nor Matt Barnes possess — he can actually create his own shot. Against the Spurs Monday, Jackson showed his first glimpse of that by scoring on three isolation post-ups with crafty spin moves and fadeaways. While the Clippers’ offense will never feature a steady diet of Jackson isos, it’s an option the generally stagnant second unit can use — especially late in possessions.
The numbers confirm Jackson’s play. According to NBA.com/Stats, the Clippers have a +19.6 net rating when he’s on the floor. When he sits (only including the games he’s played), that figure drops to +8.9. Throw in his ability to play either forward spot and overall toughness and, well, this pickup looks like a steal.
- Jovan Buha
I’m Crying But…
During one of the timeouts in the third quarter, a military family was brought in to “Guess the Clippers” for a prize. My immediate reaction was that they better not bring in the serviceman or I will immediately start crying. Needless to say, a soldier I leave came out at the end of the segment and all of Staples stood and cheered. Even the players and coaches.
Except for Chris Paul and Stephen Jackson. Paul was engrossed in conversation with a coach about how to best execute the next sequence. Jackson was across the court offering some points of emphasis for the refs. I was bawling at the reunion.
- Andrew Han