Los Angeles Clippers
No Dime tonight.
Go DJ, That’s My DJ
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Elton Brand checks into the game and gets booed by the Clippers crowd. Really? Still?
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 9, 2014
Crowd thought this game was over. It is not.
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) March 9, 2014
Jamal Crawford didn't re-injure his calf. However, he wasn't comfortable with muscle, saying it needs to "get stronger."
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 9, 2014
Matt Barnes "This is the worst I've felt about a win this season."
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 9, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||2||2-2||0-0||0-0||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||-2||4|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||10||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||1||+2||0|
|Big Baby, PF||14||2-3||0-0||0-0||0||4||4||0||0||0||0||4||-1||4|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Andrew, Jordan and Seerat discuss the Clippers’ crunch-time offense, the team sticking to their message, Blake Griffin’s dry humor, the return of 2013 Matt Barnes, the Clippers-Warriors rivalry, and (as always) who the Clippers should want to face in the playoffs.
Check Your Messages
Moving In Half-Circles
There are several ways for big men to score on a defender: keeping them off-balance on a series of moves (Al Jefferson), blowing by them with quickness and strength (Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis), or to simply shoot over and around them (Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki). Blake Griffin has mastered his own level of scoring, simultaneously spinning in half-circles, and in an upward trajectory that forces the defender backwards despite their positioning.
Late in the fourth quarter, when the Clippers, in danger of losing the lead, needed a bucket, Griffin wielded his signature move. Again and again, he forced his way into the chest of Pero Antic, Paul Millsap, and the plethora of double teams the Hawks threw at him. Rarely does he propel off two feet on these moves, instead content with forcing the defender a foot backwards before shooting with his arm craned behind his head. In no way is Griffin’s post game aesthetically pleasing, but it’s uniquely effective and refreshing to watch.
- Andy Liu
It would be easy to say that Blake Griffin took this one over down this stretch, for both better and worse. Many will opine that he did just that, and they will be perfectly right to do so. And while his increasing ability to become a go-to scorer in clutch situations is always a pleasing tail to tell, there was a moment early in the game when Griffin’s primacy not only in this game, but for this team became more evident.
It was a simple enough play, late in the first quarter, Jeff Teague threw an errant pass out of bounds, Griffin trotted to the sideline to inbound to Chris Paul for CP3’s inevitable puppeteering of the offense. But then something odd happened. Paul threw the ball back to Griffin in the backcourt to let him initiate as a point forward. We’ve gotten used to the thrill of Griffin running the transition offense when he secures a rebound, but this was something different. Griffin at the wheel not just by opportunity, but by design.
Anyone who has followed Paul’s career will recognize that ceding control like this is anathema to him, and his willingness to do so, even in that one small moment, says more about Griffin’s ascent over the course of the season than any number of fawning columns or analytical studies.
- Seth Partnow
Free-Throw Shooting Rears Its Ugly Head
Everything is going swimmingly in Clipperland. Glen Davis answers the question of big man depth that’s haunted the team all season. Blake Griffin is probably third in the MVP race. Matt Barnes is playing out of his mind. And after Thursday’s win over the Lakers, they have the best SRS in the NBA.
They won again tonight, but a problem that’s been forgotten over the last stretch of winning dug its head out of the grave and nearly lost the Clippers the game. First, with about 2:30 remaining, the Hawks went to Hack-a-DJ. The Clippers weren’t in the bonus, so he didn’t have to actually shoot the free throws, but Doc Rivers immediately pulled him. The Hawks quickly scored twice, and Jordan wasn’t able to get back into the game until the 47-second mark, well after Hack-a-DJ expired as a viable strategy for Atlanta.
Then, with 13 seconds remaining and the Hawks down two, Blake Griffin went to the line and missed two free throws. Griffin is nearly a 70 percent free-throw shooter this season and should only miss two straight FTS nine percent of the time, but it happened. It could happen again, too. The issue of free-throw shooting has been largely forgotten recently, but is still a real one. This game may be a reminder that it could show up down the road.
- Jacob Frankel
Sometimes you win by 48, and sometimes you win by one.
The Clippers survived a visit from the Hawks with a 109-108 win. As with most nail-biters, the glass was half-full, half-empty.
Half-full: The Hawks are definitely “Spurs East” in terms of personnel and schematic philosophy. You saw that especially early, when the Hawks led most of the first half. The Hawks lead the league in assists and they have jump-shooters at every position. They had 29 assists on 38 field goals tonight, including 12 3s. The Clippers were able to hold up against that offense, and it is good for them to test their might against a team that plays so much like the defending Western Conference champs.
Half-empty: The Hawks aren’t the Spurs. They’re not even the same Hawks who beat the Clippers in December. Atlanta has now dropped 14 of their last 15 games, and they look like a team that wants nothing to do with the last playoff spot in the East that they currently occupy. They were blown out in Oakland by the Warriors on Friday night. Yet, the Clippers let them hang around in Staples. The killer instinct the Clippers displayed on Thursday night wasn’t there.
- Lawrence Murray
Not Letting Perfect Be The Enemy Of Good
The collective defensive philosophy in the NBA has rounded out to this: protect the paint, force jumpers inside the arc. But not all teams are built for the same kind of coverage. Some hedge pick and rolls and with lengthy, mobile big men, and try to recover. Some hedge their bets: drop back and force guards to shoot over them.
The Clippers are kind of all over the place in that regard, but one thing is certain. When Blake Griffin traps, Matt Barnes rotates. In essence, the play takes Barnes away from an open 3-point shooter in the corner or the wing to frustrate the roll man. A death wish, right? Not so much.
The Clippers’ defense isn’t built for perfection. First of all, their personnel would never be able to sustain it. They understand their flaws, and they take the chance that other teams are flawed too. Most of the time, Barnes makes the rotation and a guy in the middle hesitates, allowing Griffin to recover, or takes a bothered shot. The goal is for an offense to be a well-oiled machine; most of the time, it isn’t. Most of the time, big men aren’t trained in the art of delivering crosscourt pocket passes. Most of the time, it works out.
- Seerat Sohi