Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: David Lee. He wasn’t selected to join the All-Stars from out West, but he put on a show on Thursday night against the conference’s announced starter. Lee dropped 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in the Dubs’ dominant 19-point win over Blake Griffin and the Clippers to prevent further Golden State slippage in the standings.
LVP: Jamal Crawford. Oof. The Clippers’ streaky sixth man hit just one of his nine field-goal attempts in this one, hurting an L.A. backcourt that needs all it can get with Chris Paul still on the shelf. Of course, the Warriors’ perimeter defenders had something to do with that as well.
Defining moment: Golden State ran out to an early lead that ballooned to as many as 19 points early in the second quarter, but the Clips cut the deficit to eight at the half. Then came the Warriors’ surge — a 16-2 run to start the third that blew the doors open as the Dubs ran away from Los Angeles in a lopsided win.
– Matthew Tynan
Tweet(s) of the Night
Clippers' weakside rotation is still in L.A.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) January 31, 2014
The Clippers look like the Cavaliers.
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) January 31, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||4||1-3||1-2||0-0||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||-2||3|
|Ryan Hollins, C||4||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||-2||2|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||9||1-3||0-2||0-0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||2||-10||2|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Andrew and Jovan discuss whether the Clippers should take away anything from the blowout loss, All-Star snubs out West, and why the show Girls is the voice of the Millenial generation.
Check Your Messages
Heading into training camp, the biggest concern surrounding the Clippers was their interior defense. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan formed a slightly below-average duo at best last season, and without a viable third big man on this year’s roster, the interior depth was also a clear issue. Halfway through this season, though, the Clippers’ interior D isn’t much of a concern. Griffin and Jordan have both improved considerably, and Jordan especially has played like the Garnett/Chandler/Noah-level defender we all envisioned he could eventually be.
The bigger problem this season, especially tonight against the Warriors, was the Clippers’ perimeter D.
L.A.’s backcourt and wing crop — outside of J.J. Redick and Chris Paul — have routinely struggled containing the ball, making timely rotations and boxing out bigger guards/wings this season. Matt Barnes and Jared Dudley, in particular, have struggled more than anticipated. Blown rotations here and late rotations there meant that Jordan and Griffin were stretched thin against a talented, dynamic passing team — they had to rotate over to protect the rim while simultaneously keeping track of their man.
The result was ugly. The Warriors nabbed 16 offensive rebounds (five of which came from Harrison Barnes), 66 points in the paint (tied a season-high), and 49.5 percent shooting — the Dubs shot only 28.6 percent on 3s, so their shooting percentage was clearly boosted by a lot of gimmes. No one outside of Jordan had more than three rebounds — which also speaks to Griffin leaking out in transition rather than boxing out.
Jordan and Griffin will bear the brunt of the blame for tonight’s loss from the national media, as the lasting images from tonight’s game are backdoor lobs and Stephen Curry layups and floaters. But if you look closer, there’s a different, more pressing issue at hand.
- Jovan Buha
The Hardest Part
Nine games in 13 days with eight on the road and the ninth on a back-to-back. In terms of result, this game can be slid into “schedule loss” and leave it at that.
One thing in the disaster first 18 minutes worth mentioning though, is that the Clippers can still go through bouts of not trusting their rotations. Locking down your own man is not a thing that reliably happens anymore. Not with this era of hyper athletic shot creators and sophisticated offenses with multiple counter elements. It’s done collectively, as a team.
To trust is to be willing to look like a fool. You are asking them to protect your back side. And you, in turn, go to protect another teammate. When the trust is not humming, the rotations are not crisp. You’re constantly checking your man in the periphery, constantly turning your head to make sure no one has gone backdoor, checking if your weakside helpers are in place, checking if their assignments are contained and, of course, trying to keep eyes on the ball. It’s like a game of telephone, each defender a fraction of a second slow, increasing slack throughout the rotation.
A defense in harmony is said to be on a string; when the slightest tug occurs, everyone moves. You’re trusting your teammates not to leave you hanging with the end that string.
- Andrew Han