Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks
10:30 p.m. PST
April 3, 2014
1. Of the Suns, Mavericks and Grizzlies, who is making the playoffs?
Kirk Henderson, Mavs Outsider, (@KirkSeriousFace): Suns and Mavericks. I’m sure the Grizzlies will make it interesting, but these two teams are simply better. I don’t really understand folks who would rather see the Grizzlies over either squad in the playoffs. Dallas doesn’t play any defense, but their style gives each game the potential to be fantastic to watch. Grit and grind basketball from Memphis loses it’s appeal after a few games.
Seth Partnow, (@WhrOffnsHppns): I don’t know anything anymore. With the Mavs losing in shall we say questionable fashion Tuesday, while the Suns imploded and the Grizz laid an egg last night, which team Wants. It. More? I guess I’ll stick with the Mavs wanting it the least since I’ve been saying all along they’d be the first team out.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): Dallas and Memphis, purely because of the schedule. The Suns have to play Portland, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Dallas and Memphis in their final seven games. That’s not an easy stretch, and it would be reasonable to see them losing any of those games.
2. Does Monta Ellis, in fact, have it all?
Henderson: He’s been so good for Dallas because he’s stuck to the things he does best: drive, shoot right elbow jumpers, and make plays off the dribble. He plays almost no defense, wants to be the hero, and doesn’t seem to be able to understand time in order to execute a late game situation. He’s his best self this season, but that best self is a player who really hurts his team unless he’s in an ideal situation. Ellis does not have it all and I would not be shocked if this is his only season in Dallas.
Partnow: This feels like a #Don’tGetFired style leading question, but I’m onto you Katz. I’ll be diplomatic and say that Monta hasn’t had it all since that moped accident back in the day. Until that point he had a robust .555 career true shooting percentage, and he’s never really been the same since, with a slightly below average 51.7 percent since that fateful day.
Katz: It’s fascinating to watch Ellis play down the stretch of a close game. He wants to have it all so badly. Clearly, he thinks he does. But did you see his crunch-time play against the Warriors on Tuesday night? He doesn’t make the right decisions, he dribbles too much, he oozes with hero ball tendencies, and he seems to make sure the ball stays out of Dirk’s hands at all times. But none of that matters, because “Monta Ellis have it all” is still one of the best interviews in recent history.
3. Do the Clippers need JJ Redick to be considered championship contenders?
Henderson: Yes, because over a seven game series good NBA teams figure out how to marginalize their opponent’s strengths. Redick is really a much more adapable player than the casual fan gives him credit for and when you add in his defense and decision making on top of his ridiculous shooting, having a well rounded player like him in the rotation is a huge win. The Clippers are still good enough to make a case without him, but it’s much murkier.
Partnow: Unless you trust Matt Barnes’ last two months and Jared Dudley’s last two games. Which I don’t. So yes, they need to be able to have Redick to soak up 25-30 minutes at the 2 spot where he can draw defenders from CP3 and Griffin, guard some guys Collison can’t, and return Willie Green to the “break in case of emergency/injury/blowout” case.
Katz: Yes, they do. Redick brings so many different dynamics to the offense and defense that the Clippers need him to move on. What happens if Darren Collison has to guard a bigger guy in the playoffs? What happens when the Clippers need that extra dynamic to their offense, running Redick off screens to no end? If LA wants a championship, it better hope it has its shooting guard for the long haul.