Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul finished with 21 points and 10 assists on 8-or-10 shooting in just 28 minutes. He completely dominated the early portion of the game when the Clippers took control and never looked back.
X factor: The Clippers outscored the Nuggets 21-6 from the 3-point line in the first half. It was enough to build a 17-point halftime lead that allowed them to coast to a victory in the second half.
That was….never in doubt. The Clippers started the game on a 13-0 run, and their lead never felt in danger after that. In fact, neither Paul nor Blake Griffin saw the floor in the fourth quarter, despite a mini-run from Denver.
– Matt Cianfrone
Don’t Do It To ‘Em, Point God
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Doc Rivers: "What OKC did [last night] was piss me off because [Nick] Collison tried to take my son out."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) April 16, 2014
Things Clippers are working on tonight: 3-guard lineup, Blake's outside shooting. Things Clippers not working on: defense
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 16, 2014
Blake always has no idea how this could possibly have happened.
— netw3rk (@netw3rk) April 16, 2014
Clips offense is 1.09 points per DJ free throws represent .86 points per – the hack a jordan should be heavily in play come playoff time.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) April 16, 2014
— Erik Griffin (@ErikGriffin) April 16, 2014
The Depth Charge
|Ryan Hollins, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Hedo Turkoglu, PF||18||2-5||1-3||1-2||0||4||4||1||0||0||0||3||+6||6|
|Big Baby, PF||12||3-8||0-0||3-3||0||6||6||0||1||0||1||1||+9||9|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Patrick and Seth discuss the significance (or lack thereof?) of winning 57 games.
Check Your Messages
Defending The Arc
Relatively speaking, the Clippers had a good defense last season. They finished 2012-13 ranked eighth in defensive-efficiency, due in large part to the fact that they forced more turnovers than any team in the league. However, their three-point defense was a mess. They allowed teams to make 37.3 percent of threes, fifth-worst in the league. Blake Griffin conflicted with then-coach Vinny Del Negro’s philosophy, saying via ESPN LA, “It depends on our defensive strategy and our defensive principles for that game. We switch them every single game.”
This season, the Clippers remarkably improved the perimeter defense under Doc Rivers. After the Nuggets shot 8-of-29 tonight, the Clippers lead the league in three-point defense, allowing only 33.1 percent of made threes. Randy Foye came into this game six threes shy of Dale Ellis’ Nuggets franchise record 192 made threes in 1996-1997. Though he made the incredible buzzer-beater against the Clippers in February, he had only made 3-of-17 overall (17.6 percent) this season against Los Angeles. That’s far below his 38 percent clip on the season.Tonight, he missed all seven of his shots from downtown.
Two plays stood out in particular in the first half of this game. On one, DeAndre Jordan found himself switched onto Nuggets point guard Aaron Brooks. Most big men don’t handle perimeter defense well. Jordan stayed onto Brooks not once, but twice on the same possession, not giving up a drive and then successfully contesting Brooks’ jumper. Later in the half, Matt Barnes had to rotate out from the paint to close out on small forward Quincy Miller. Barnes closed out under control, and not only did Miller fail to even attempt the three, he shuffled his feet as well, resulting in a turnover. Even in what was a glorified scrimmage for the Clippers, it is good to see consistent tenets carried out defensively going into the money season.
- Law Murray
Raining From Deep
The Clippers’ impressive record when making at least nine 3-pointers (34-1) lives on. Of greater importance is that Chris Paul (3 of 5) and J.J. Redick (4 of 6) were the main culprits. Paul has struggled with 3s on the season — but shot better recently — and Redick has yet to regain his elite shooting form since returning from injury. This is a step in the right direction.
- Jovan Buha at FOX Sports
How You Remind Me
There were several nuggets of information to be gleaned even from tonight’s largely meaningless game. The one that stood out to me was most evident in a play that occurred early in the second quarter, with about 10:16 to play in the first half.
Jamal Crawford brought the ball up and entered what looked like typical Crawford isolation on the left wing above the three-point line. Big Baby stepped up as if he was going to set a screen, but then quickly stepped back towards the left mid-range. Crawford passed the ball to Davis, then curled around Davis’ wide body and darted towards the hoop. Davis passed it to Crawford in a standard give-and-go action. But Crawford quickly recognized that both his defender (Wilson Chandler) and Big Baby’s (Timofey Mozgov) had followed him into the paint, and immediately fired a nifty one-handed bounce pass back to Davis, who nailed a wide-open jumper.
It wasn’t necessarily an important moment in the game, but it was a reminder that the Clippers’ bench, which has often seemed to lack both playmaking and scoring, actually has some punch. Davis hasn’t had to carry anywhere near the burden he did in Orlando, but it’s nice to remember that he can in fact score, and that Crawford, now that he’s healthy, can create more than four-point plays.
- Ben Mesirow