Over at FOX Sports West, I discussed the Clippers’ poor perimeter defense, and how they could potentially fix the problem. Click here for the full piece. Here is an excerpt:
It’s not a coincidence that in a game with such an obvious mismatch, the Spurs uncharacteristically deserted their motion-based offense and decided to run a slew of post-ups and isolations for Leonard.
“We ran more plays for [Leonard] tonight than I ever have in his career,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
To compensate for Crawford’s defense, the Clippers often sent DeAndre Jordan to double or heavily help towards Leonard, which triggered a series of defensive rotations. Blake Griffin would then leave his man — either Matt Bonner or Boris Diaw, both capable 3-point shooters — to defend Tim Duncan near the rim, leaving Chris Paul and J.J. Redick to play zone against the three remaining Spurs, who were spread across the 3-point arc.
As Jordan collapsed on him, Leonard could quickly shoot, dump a pass inside to a flashing Duncan, or swing the ball to Tony Parker at the top of the key. From there, Parker could penetrate and score, kick out to a shooter or reset the offense. The options were endless.
Luckily for the Clippers, the Spurs couldn’t convert, shooting just 9 of 36 on uncontested shots (25 percent). No Clippers opponent had shot under 39.0 percent on uncontested shots this season heading into Monday, and most hovered around 50 percent.
The Spurs simply missed a ton of good, open looks. If just a few of those go down, the score could’ve been ugly.