Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul posted an epic 34-3-16-6 line. Paul did just about everything right all game, and his clutch heroics threatened to seal the game. Credit the Blazers for withstanding CP3 and forcing overtime.
Defining Moment: Paul put the Clippers up three with 9.3 seconds left in regulation. But Nicolas Batum ran off a double screen by Lillard and Aldridge to hit a clutch trey and send the game into overtime.
That was … back-and-forth. Portland was up 11, and then they were up two. And then they were up 11 again. Basketball is always a game of runs, but this game alternated dozens of times with huge, entertaining runs.
– Alex Dewey
Tweet(s) of the Night
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 27, 2013
Promising back-to-back showing by the Clips. Had multiple chances to pack it up and kept battling instead. Those losses you can live with.
— D.J. Foster (@fosterdj) December 27, 2013
Mood in Oakland wasn't that bad – team felt like they got hosed a little. Mood was different in Portland – you could tell loss really stung
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 27, 2013
Defensive Rating Update
After giving up 116 points, the Clippers’ defensive rating dropped from seventh (100.3) to eighth (100.6) in the rankings.
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||9||1-1||0-0||0-0||1||2||3||0||1||1||0||1||-12||2|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||10||0-4||0-3||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||-10||0|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Check out tonight’s in-game CBL from the first half:
The second half:
Check Your Messages
LaMarcus Aldridge is the focal point of the Blazers’ offense and DeAndre Jordan is the Clippers’ best defender. On the surface, Doc Rivers switching Jordan onto Aldridge for most of the game made sense. It didn’t quite work out as intended, though.
Jordan has his flaws on defense, but the rotational miscues make a much smaller negative impact than his height a positive. Tall people have a huge effect on the offense, just by standing in the paint. But that’s not where the jumper happy Aldridge resides, and Jordan was dragged from his natural habitat and into the untenable lands of the midrange. The Blazers offense thrived, with Aldridge raining jumpers over Jordan — DJ’s inexperience guarding pick-and-pops on full display — and the ball handlers slicing to the rim where they would only be met by Blake Griffin.
Credit Rivers for going away from this at the end of the fourth and in overtime, before Jordan fouled out. Experimentation is a good thing, but this one blew up in the face of the Clippers.
- Jacob Frankel
Killer Lineup: Portland’s Offensive Machine
Sounds like a pretty formal half-court offense, right? Kinda, sorta. The actions are tight and familiar, thanks to Batum’s vision, Matthews’ improved reliability as a passer, Lopez’s selflessness and the willingness of the two scorers to trust that the ball will find them. But the vast majority of what the Blazers get is the product of smart reads.
Every team aspires to play read-oriented basketball, but to rely on playmaking instinct, a team has to have personnel who can make plays. Batum can orchestrate an offense as well as any forward in the league not named James, and he’s also the place Portland goes when it wants to run an advanced action, or get into its corner split with Lillard and Aldridge. And if Lillard and Aldridge are covered late in the shot clock, Batum can almost always create some kind of opportunity.
- Kevin Arnovitz at TrueHoop
It was the second night of a back-to-back in arguably the two most rowdy arenas in the Western Conference. It was a night in which Chris Paul and Blake Griffin combined for 30-plus points for only the third time in the Paul-Griffin era. It was a night in which DeAndre Jordan ripped down 19 boards and played mostly competent defense on an above-average big man combination. It was a night in which a healthy Matt Barnes gave 23 solid minutes off the bench and Jamal Crawford scored 21. That would usually be the formula for a Clipper win. Just because a Nicolas Batum three happened to swish in as opposed to rattle out shouldn’t change that, and it shouldn’t change anything other than adding an extra loss in the L-column moving forward.
- Fred Katz
Fouling When Up Three
Should the Clippers have fouled at the end of regulation? It certainly didn’t seem like they were prepared to do so. Chris Paul has definitely shown a penchant to give the intentional foul in those situations. In recent years, Paul could audibly be heard yelling to foul when up three. But it’s been unclear if Doc Rivers is also a proponent of such tactics. Thankfully, Rivers clarified postgame:
“We gave them three at the end and that can’t happen. Number one, we should have fouled and that’s on me. We had too much indecision and that’s why I called the 20 [second timeout]. Because I could see the guys weren’t all on the same page defensively. You know, I always foul. The one time I don’t, they score. That’s why I always foul. So that one’s on me.”
A lesson better learned in December than in May.
- Andrew Han
More Ways to Defend When Up Three
Clearly there was a lot being discussed in the 20 second timeout prior to the Batum 3-pointer. For instance, notice here Griffin reacting to a conversation between Crawford and Rivers:
“No, no. Ay, if you foul you’ve got to foul. Don’t give them an opportunity to make an And-1.”*
*If there are any better lip-readers, feel free to correct.
And Griffin is entirely correct. If Portland somehow got a Clipper to foul, it would be imperative ensure an And-1 is not made.
But another strategy would have been to employ an “umbrella zone,” which Golden State used successfully last season. Essentially, the longest defender would guard the inbounder, hoping to deflect a pass and obstruct court vision. The remaining four defenders would be spaced out along the 3-point line, zoning up the arc. If only a three can tie the game and you’re choosing not to foul, effectively conceding all twos to maintain the lead is another way control the match.
Diversity of defense; just another facet to consider.
- Andrew Han