Los Angeles Clippers vs. Phoenix Suns
3:00 p.m. PST
January 25, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
At least Shavlik’s left for Boston…
1. Is Jeff Hornacek’s new rule of benching players when they get T’d up a good idea?
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): Given that they hold the dubious honor of most technical fouls in the NBA (along with the Clippers), it makes sense to try something. But the absolutism of the rule feels more fitting for a college or even high school team. I think you can usually tell when a guy needs a breather and when he’s under control.
Ben Mesirow: That’s certainly one way to get players to ease up on complaining to referees and getting into scuffles, but it’s tough to make that sort of thing a hard rule. Not all Ts are the same, and players respond to getting one in vastly different ways, so I think it probably makes more sense to take it on an individual basis. Hornacek has done a great job with the Suns and he’s earned the benefit of the doubt, but what happens when he gets T’d up himself?
J.D. Evans: It’s worth a try. Technicals don’t seem to mean much in most games, but then there are games where that extra point can mean a lot; even more important, there are games when you don’t want to lose, e.g., the Morris twins for getting two each. If benching nudges players toward fewer techs, without ruining the rotation, good for him.
2. Finish this sentence: “When I hear Eric Bledsoe’s name I feel…”
James: … wistful. I’ve been a watching the Clippers since Larry Brown was the coach, and Bledsoe is my favorite player to have ever suited up for L.A. What’s confounding isn’t that he’s on another team — that was effectively unavoidable — it’s that we never got to see what a CP3-Bledsoe backcourt might have looked like. Two point guards in Phoenix seems to have worked so far.
Mesirow: Wistful, mostly. I wish Bledsoe had gotten a chance to play alongside CP, like he often does alongside Dragic, but it was clear that that was never in the Clipper organization’s plans. With that in mind, I’m glad to see him succeeding, even for a Western Conference rival. Still, it’s tough to look at Phoenix’s backcourt without wondering what might have been.
Evans: Surprisingly, not too much. Drafting Bledsoe was a win for the Clippers, and they should have got more for him from the Suns. But the deals that really annoy me aren’t the “with hindsight we could have done better” ones, but the gratuitously, obviously bad ones. Like just giving away the assets you traded Bledsoe for in the first place.
3. Over/Under 229.5 total points scored in this game?
James: I’ll take the under. The Clippers are 6-1 this year in games they’ve played after two days rest, and in those games they’re holding teams to 100.3 points per 100 possessions (and have a +17.8 net rating), far better than their 103.4 defensive rating they have on the year. All of which makes sense — when your roster’s basically only six men deep, your defense should improve after a spell of rest.
Mesirow: That’s a ton of points, but I’ll still take the over. Both of their previous two matchups exceeded 225 total points (though the last one went into overtime), and Phoenix has scored more than 110 in each of their last four, so I don’t see anything that leads me to believe the fireworks will slow down now.