San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Clippers
No Dime tonight.
Tweet(s) of the Night
Matt Barnes paying homage to Luscious Jackson with his naked eyes. No goggles as he checks into the game.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 5, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||5||2-2||1-1||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||-3||5|
|Ryan Hollins, C||5||1-1||0-0||1-1||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||+9||3|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||10||0-2||0-1||2-2||1||1||2||1||0||0||0||1||-3||2|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Charlie Widdoes makes his long-awaited return to CBL.
Check Your Messages
Focusing on the Big Picture
Losing to the San Antonio Spurs after they suffered a humbling loss to the Knicks two night prior is nothing to be embarrassed about. Even getting completely blown out, going down by 37 points and looking lost in a cloudy haze is not worth dwelling over. The Clippers lost their best player, the implicit general the night before in a contentious match with no defined timetable for return. This is a schedule loss, an opponent starving to correct their errors and the emotional let down of a fallen comrade rolled into one.
Frankly, there’s likely to be more inconsistency in the coming weeks. A silver lining would be Blake Griffin’s insistence on not reverting to hero-ball for this Paul-less stretch. Doc Rivers post game:
“We’ve been a ball movement team, a cutting team. And in the first half there was none of that. And we got into it. It’s new for [Darren Collison]. DC’s used to running middle pick-and-rolls and you can do that with the second unit. But the first unit, you’ve got to get them into stuff. You’ve got to run stuff, you know? And I told the guys after the game, I really singled out Blake, who I was the happiest with, because really we weren’t running anything in the first half. But DC kept throwing it down the Blake. Blake was one the saying ‘That doesn’t work. We need ball movement.’ That is so unselfish; when you’re getting the ball every time and you’re the guy saying we need ball movement. I thought that was great.”
There’s an old-school mentality to basketball that stars need to pick teams up and put them on their backs in times like these. But we’ve seen in the past two seasons that relying on one player to drag a team to victory is not a recipe for playoff success. You can lean on them in moments of need, but the product must be greater than one player.
And it’s fitting that this first game without Paul comes against an organization like the Spurs; a team that will sit stars without a second thought and still compete and win games. If there is anything to take away from this game, it’s that–an opportunity for the Clippers to learn how to function without the heroics of CP3. Griffin will be there to lean on in times of need, but he recognizes better than anyone that even in singling out one players’ performance, playoff success will require the efforts of a collective unit.
- Andrew Han
Life without Chris Paul
While the downgrade from Paul to Darren Collison was noticeable on the defensive end, it looks as if it will be crippling to the Clippers offense. Such is the cost of losing a superstar; while Collison makes for a decent enough backup, he’s out of his depth and stylistically out of sync as a temporary Paul replacement. L.A.’s offense can succeed with him contributing in small doses or merely observing at times (as it did in L.A.’s face-saving third quarter — a 35-18 spurt in which Collison contributed zero points and two assists), but the fact that Collison doesn’t create dribble penetration, subsists on pull-up jumpers and only has rudimentary playmaking skills doesn’t exactly bode well.
All of which puts even more pressure on the Clippers who can create their own shots consistently (Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford, the pair of which combined for 43 points on Saturday) while mitigating those most reliant on Paul (DeAndre Jordan, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley, and Willie Green). In this particular game, the Collison-led offense overwhelmingly led to one of three results:
1) A basic, designed Griffin post-up;
2) A high screen leading to a pull-up mid-range jumper for either Collison or Crawford;
3) A kick-out to one of the Clippers’ shooters, who lack the ability to create alternatives if their initial shot is taken away.
Not exactly a world-beating recipe, to say the least. That the Clippers were tripped up so often and so easily on offense is excusable for a night, as L.A. had almost no time to prepare for the turnaround from Paul’s injury. The underlying limitations in play, though, won’t soon vanish. Collison has become a reserve by his own underwhelming track record and self-limiting style, all of which now hangs around the neck of an otherwise explosive offense.
- Rob Mahoney, for SI’s Point Forward