Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul was up to his usual tricks. The passing savant dished 13 assists and anchored the Clippers’ offense all night. Despite his shooting woes, Paul was crucial down the stretch. Nine of his 19 points came in overtime, including five free throws.
Defining Moment: It’s an old adage: All the Wolves had to do was hold onto the ball and nail their free throws. They couldn’t. Over the course of 18 seconds, Kevin Love split a fair of free throws and Chris Paul stole an inbounds pass which led to Jamal Crawford’s dunk sending the game into overtime.
That was … offensive. The two squads combined for 126 points in the paint, 51 assists on 91 field goals and 47 percent shooting from the field. Love and Nikola Pekovic combined for 79 points.
– Seerat Sohi
Tweet(s) of the Night
They say they miss the old Blake, Girl don’t tempt him.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) December 23, 2013
— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) December 23, 2013
Whenever watching LAC, you find yourself saying, "these two teams don't like each other." Then you realize, no NBA team likes the Clippers.
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) December 23, 2013
Defensive Rating Update
Despite giving up 116 points and decreasing their defensive rating from 100.0 to 100.2, the Clippers remain eighth in the rankings.
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||13||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||1||0||1||2||-8||2|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||2||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||-5||0|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Nate Duncan of HoopsWorld joins Andrew, Jordan and Jordan to discuss whether Chris Paul’s steal on Kevin Martin was actually a foul and then rank the NBA’s best frontcourt tandems.
Check Your Messages
Seventh Time’s a Charm
Jared Dudley has been shooting well of late. Sunday’s game, though, was an exception to that. Dudley missed his first six threes of the game and first two of the overtime period. The Clippers, meanwhile, clanked five straight threes to start bonus basketball. These weren’t contested, bad shots. They were open looks. The Clips just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop. But then, down 114-112, Chris Paul kicked out to a wide-open Dudley on the right side for a go-ahead trey. The Clips never relented the lead after that. The moral of the story? Keep trusting the process and if you’re good, things will work out more often than not.
- Fred Katz
Heading Towards a Collison Course
Darren Collison started the season slowly, shooting 39 percent from the field through the month of November. His shot had abandoned him, and he looked lost running the Clippers’ second unit. However, Collison has progressively been rounding back to typical-Collison form throughout December.
Collison has scored in double digits in each of the last four games. He’s looked extremely comfortable running the Clippers’ offense, even with Paul on the court with him. His jump shot was falling tonight, but perhaps more importantly, Collison was using his speed to disrupt passing lanes on defense and get good looks on offense. Those looks will be there, and if he keeps this up, this may not be Collison’s best offensive performance by season’s end.
- Davis Vo
Kevin Love played perhaps the game of his life tonight — his 31-point, 30-rebound performance is just as impressive, if not more — and that will dominate the conversation surrounding this game. His 45-point, 19-rebound, six-assist stat line has been matched just four times in the last 40 years — most recently by Hakeem Olajuwon in 1996 — which is incredible.
Still, that shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Blake Griffin (32 points, 10 rebounds, two assists) had a remarkable game as well — perhaps his best individual offensive game of the year. It was Griffin’s highest-scoring outing of the season (previous high was 30 vs. Brooklyn), and his best free throw shooting performance on double-digit attempts too (10 of 11, 91 percent).
Tonight we saw flashes of the old Blake we came to love so much in his rookie season. I don’t know exactly how many dunks he had, but it was somewhere between four and six. He was more explosive than at any point this season, and the Timberwolves’ interior defense (and Ricky Rubio) felt the brunt of his anger. Though he didn’t play much in overtime, the Clippers wouldn’t have gotten there without him.
Neither Griffin nor Love can guard the other one straight up, and Love was able to feast on the fact that Griffin picked up his third foul on a silly call to end the first half. Foul trouble limited the aggressiveness of both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan tonight, and as a result, neither was able to contest the shots of Love and Nikola Pekovic with their usual force.
Love should be given his proper due as the best nominal power forward in the game, but Griffin is closer to him than most think. Sometimes circumstance dictates outcomes more than ability and talent.
- Jovan Buha
Lucky or Good?
The Clippers held the ball down five with 29 seconds left in the game and elected not to take a 3. Imagine the sequence of events that has to occur to win a game like that. Missed free throws, perfectly executed quick 2-pointers at point blank range. Even if the opponent goes one-for-two and the Clippers get everything they want, they’d still need to generate a turnover for the extra possession to tie or take the lead.
That came in the form of one Kevin Martin backcourt steal. Think about it, the Wolves throw the ball to their best free throw shooter — in the backcourt — and he loses the ball with eight seconds left for an uncontested layup. “Moxie.” “Toughed it out.” All those apply tonight. But the one that sticks out to me is, “I’d rather be lucky than good.”
- Andrew Han