Los Angeles Clippers
No Dime tonight.
Tweet(s) of the Night
James Johnson just clowned the Clippers. Memphis could lose by 40 and they won’t care now.
— (Andrew Han) (@andrewthehan) February 22, 2014
Doc should spend more time actually coaching DJ to stay on his feet and put his arms straight up, less time touting.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) February 22, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||5||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||1||0||0||0||+3||0|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||7||0-1||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||1||1||0||2||0||-14||0|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Come for the Clippers-Grizzlies talk, stay for Andrew’s haircut. That’s it. That’s all that matters.
Check Your Messages
I Miss Eric Bledsoe
The Clippers’ bench had seven points tonight. It shot 1-for-10 from the field. See title for all other thoughts.
– Fred Katz
Don’t Go Getting All Heartbreak Hotel
That was kind of a fluke. The Grizzlies may have the Clippers’ number, but that game right there had the whiff of fluke.
Sure the slog of playing the Grizzlies can make some flukey events more probable, stuff like an outlandish turnover rate or a demolition on the offensive glass. But neither of the classic Memphis advantages we’ve come to know and hate really took down the Clippers.
Instead, the Clippers got zero scoring contribution from the bench during the second half and left 16 free points on the table, yet still almost pulled off a win. They went 27-of-43 from the free throw line, a sad 63 percent. Let’s just hope the Grizzlies don’t claw their way into the playoffs so I can cut down on visits to the cardiologist.
– Michael Shagrin
Take The Money And Run
An NBA player standing at the line for a free throw facing screaming fans and trash talking opponents. They also have to deal with their own nerves in the moment, especially if the score’s close. I get that. But it’s 15 feet. Fifteen feet lies between the hoop and the line. The Clippers are hitting 73 percent from the line on the season. With the exception of the Rockets (68.9 percent), that’s the lowest charity stripe success rate within the top-five West teams.
You could blame tonight’s loss on the unexpected hotness of James Johnson (who posted a season-high) or the ice coldness of the Clips from the three. I’d like to blame the loss on free throws. The disparity of free throw attempts was staggering. Against Memphis, L.A. had a whopping 43 attempts to the Grizzlies’ 15.
Free throws build confidence and cause momentum shifts. There are other factors like rebounds and fouls, yet sinking free throws is the easiest fix. Standing at the line, that shot is completely under the player’s control. For the past couple of years, the Clippers have been touted as a team with great potential to make a deep playoff run, and they have disappointed. Even if Blake throws down 28 and 13, in the Western Conference, that won’t be good enough.
– Alysha Tsuji
Need A Fifth?
You’ve been there: nine guys waiting for a tenth to make it a game. Finally someone says, what about the old guy reading the paper? The old guy mumbles something about not having played in years and someone snickers. But on the court, he does the right things every time: shoots open shots, makes the extra pass, gets back on D, follows his shot. He just does all of these things a tiny little bit late.
That doesn’t matter at the park; it does matter for the Clippers. Because that guy is Hedo Turkoglu: in one sequence, Turkoglu made an entry pass into DeAndre Jordan in the post a second late. Turnover. But, he got back on D and closed out on the corner three! But even with a nine inch height advantage, he just couldn’t… quite… get… there… and Conley made the shot.
If the Clips want to win a playoff series without home court, they’ll need to hit free throws, which they didn’t do tonight, and hit threes, which they didn’t do tonight. But more than that, they’ll need a bench that can hold a lead: Memphis’ reserves were plus-36 in bench differential tonight.
If Hedo can be Magic Hedo, rather than Old Man Pickup Hedo, this year’s bench could be useful, not quite last year’s “Merchants of Chaos,” but not the net negative it is now. That shouldn’t stop anyone in the front office calling Glen Davis tomorrow morning, though.
– J.D. Evans
A ClipperBlog Production: There Can Only Be One
The Clippers are hollywood darlings, blue-eyed blonde vixens with a palate for the finer things in life. Sure, they sported a headpiece, braces, eye-glasses trifecta at one time, but they’re a product of opportune times. Where there’s flash, laser eye surgery surely isn’t far behind.
Coddled, though not to the extent of their neighbors, the crew isn’t welcome in the FedEx Forum — otherwise known as the birthplace of grit. Memphis is home to the masters of grind, and let me tell you, they do not appreciate you frolicking around with your fancy passes (an assist ratio of 18.1) and excessive flops (20.3 percent of the Clippers’ points come at the stripe — tops in the association).
You may have noticed the boos. The first installment was when the Clips touched the ball for the first time, another after Blake Griffin exuberantly dunked in transition.
Suburban debauchery! Our Gasol can dunk, too! And he’ll do it while putting us up by four. The Grindmaster will block your gaudy 3-point attempts. No four-point play for you, Jamal Crawford.
It was an affair wrought with distaste from the start. The glaring history doesn’t help, but make no mistake: these teams were never meant to like each other. That they hate each other with such passion is a boon for everyone: the ratings, the fans, the narrative, and if things work out, the legend.
– Seerat Sohi
Print The Legend
Remove the Lob City veneer from the Clippers and what you’re left with is a substance that very much resembles the Memphis Grizzlies. The script for “Grit & Grind” nearly writes itself: A team of downtrodden castoffs resuscitate basketball in a heretofore moribund city. But “based on a true story” leaves plenty of wiggle room to pretty things up a bit.
The rookie head coach obviously has to go, replaced with the successful guru, lured from out-of-town at great expense. Sex up the physically dominant power forward, and Z-Bo slowly morphs into Blake. Take away the commercials, that last extra 10 percent of ability from Chris Paul and you are left with the heady, scrappy Mike Conley. Courtney Lee is sort of nondescript, so the shooting guard becomes a swashbuckling, heat-checking gunner a la Crawford.
But the spot where the glitz and glamour simply doesn’t measure up is in the middle. DeAndre Jordan, for all his improvement, still represents the look of a linchpin center with the thunderous dunks, emphatic rejections without even mentioning the comic relief of his free throw line struggles.
The subtleties of Marc Gasol’s game, from the little hip check here, the touch pass there with the only flourish being a 16-foot set shot simply don’t translate to the screen. But sadly for L.A., at least tonight, these little nuances that get smoothed over and scrubbed out in the rewrite process were the difference between story-boarded endings and actual victory.
– Seth Partnow
Dancing in Comfortable Shoes
Brisk is not normally ascribed to Zach Randolph’s game. Z-Bo is much more sashay than speed. But nights of struggle tend to be the byproduct of reluctance; bouts of hesitation. Should he face up? Should he bang in the post? Things Clippers fans can empathize with after observing Blake Griffin’s blossoming career.
Not so tonight. Jab step. One-two-and-back. Like steps to an Arthur Murray instructional, Randolph shifted his feet effortlessly, comfortable with the familiarity of an old dance partner.
Conversely, despite Blake Griffin’s quick start, an uncharacteristic miss of free throws belied his comfort on Beale St. Griffin was 2 of 8 through the first three quarters as hesitation crept into his revamped shooting form. One can only imagine the psychic trauma rustling in the subconscious; all the good tidings from a hard fought 2012 playoff series subsumed by the physical toll and emotional letdown in 2013.
The coach is new. The team is new. The star is now a superstar. But it always takes time to shed the burdens of seasons past.
– Andrew Han
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