Los Angeles Clippers vs. Orlando Magic
7:30 p.m. PST
December 3, 2014
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Just a reminder of what Nikola Vucevic, who missed the Magic’s game against the Warriors on Tuesday, can do if he goes Wednesday against the Clippers:
1. True or false: Tobias Harris is a good-stats-on-a-bad-team guy.
Eddy Rivera, Magic Basketball, (@EddyRivera): True and false. The jury is out on whether or not Harris is a “numbers guy” or if he’s a good player. Some people think he’s the former and it makes sense. He fits the profile. But I reserve judgment for now.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): True, but it’s not like the team would be better if his numbers were worse. And the “good-stats-on-a-bad-team” descriptor probably shouldn’t be used when you’re talking about young, developing teams with budding prospects. Harris does a bit of everything and scores fairly efficiently—18.6 points per 36 minutes on 14.8 shots, while shooting 47 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three, and 82 percent from the line. Plenty of good teams would like that production from their forwards.
J.D. Evans: True. He’s not getting 15 shots a game for a good team, or even a borderline playoff team. On the other hand, he’s still young, and it’s not his fault he’s on a bad squad. He could easily turn into a solid-stats-on-a-great-team guy.
2. True or false: Channing Frye is the hardest pick-and-pop center to guard.
Rivera: False. Channing Frye isn’t a center, but when he does play the position when the Magic go small, he’s hard to guard. The answer to the question, though, is Dirk Nowitzki. When HE plays center, HE’S the hardest pick-and-pop player to guard.
James: False. It’s Marc Gasol. I know Frye pops farther from the basket and he’s definitely a handful. And he’s certainly in elite company when it comes to centers with range and ability to move. If you’re a center trying to guard him, you’re in a scary situation. But when Gasol pops off a screen and catches the ball at 17 feet, you’re already dead.
Evans: Yes, if the question is just about shooting. Otherwise, even though there isn’t that much competition, and Frye might not really be a center—still, no, because he’s not Chris Bosh. Frye can shoot better, yes, but picking and popping is about more than just shooting threes, and if I was playing defense, I’d much rather Frye have the ball in his hands than Bosh.
3. What has been the biggest improvement for the Clippers during their winning streak?
Rivera: They played a few Eastern Conference teams. I’m half-kidding. In my opinion, it’s that their role players are playing well. Jamal Crawford is dropping 20-plus points seemingly every night off the bench and J.J. Redick looks like J.J. Redick again after a slow start to the season.
James: The biggest improvement has been motion on offense—both in terms of guys running without the ball and the ball itself. One thing to look at when a guy cuts or sets a screen is whether he’s simply going through the motions or setting up a real scoring option. Lately the Clippers have looked to be running a bit harder, so their back cuts are less like obvious decoys and more likely to force a defender’s hand.
Evans: Lots has improved—CP3BG is more aggressive, as is Farmar, the defense is sharper, and the shooters better. But more important is what’s gotten worse. The combined record of the teams who’ve beaten the Clippers is 63-22; of those whom the Clippers have beaten, 77-114. That’s okay. Crushing bad team is good for chemistry, and that should show once they have to play elite teams again.
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