Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs
MVP: Blake Griffin was shown up by Ryan Anderson on Friday night. Griffin dominated the Spurs on Saturday night, giving the defending champs 31 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists. All this from Griffin on the same night that Tim Duncan scored only four points in 26 minutes, his lowest point total in 66 career games against the Clippers.
That was … an eye-opener: If last night’s Clippers game was Gary Busey’s seashell, then this was Amazon Fire TV. The Clippers followed up a letdown on the front end of a back-to-back by walking all over the Spurs in San Antonio. The Spurs were hot too, winners of seven of the last eight games, and they were at home with two days off.
X factor: According to Basketball Reference, 26 players are listed at 7’0″ and up with at least 100 field goal attempts, and Spencer Hawes has the lowest field goal percentage of all of them at 41 percent. Hawes has struggled shooting threes, which is the main reason his percentage is at a career-low. Those struggles weren’t apparent tonight, as he hit three of his five threes, helping Los Angeles outscore San Antonio’s bench 35-28.
— Law Murray
Tweets Of The Game
The Clippers are plus-20 on the glass. The Clippers!!!!
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 1, 2015
Sometimes this is easy: Clippers have a ton of players playing really well. Spurs have Kawhi Leonard.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) February 1, 2015
Check Your Messages
Hair Game Strong
I am not sure how Spencer Hawes was the highest recipient of the plus-minus number in a surprising blowout of the San Antonio Spurs. He played minutes alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, if we care about logic and the such. Throw that all away, though, and we’re left with what appears to be a samurai knot at the top of Hawes’ head, signifying whatever you want in as meaningful as a win as can be in late January.
Hawes floated in threes with the accuracy of a much smaller person. He swung the ball without the stickniess of his predecessors. He even contested, though not without failure, shots at the rim like someone with a purpose. The Clippers don’t necessarily need him to make a deep playoff run or to win a championship. Their top-end lineup is bar none in the entire NBA.
But when they can get a guy with to spread the floor, create some semblance of offense in emergency situations and blah blah blah, there’s versatility and arrogance that can’t be provided on other teams. You don’t want to lose to the opposing team as much as you want to envision that thing perched on his noggin as a toupee. Hawes is perfectly acceptable as a backup big. It’s just that when he’s helping your team win, things are so much more fun because we can all be cocky assholes about it.
– Andy Liu
The Clippers have played 48 games. They now have a record of 33-15. Let’s repeat that, using 16-game NFL-sized schedules:
The Clippers started 11-5 … followed that start up with a record of 10-6 … and are now 12-4 in their last 16 games.
I understand why folks trip about this team, but they’re good. They’re playing great. And they’re playing some of their best basketball of the season.
It’s showing up based off of last year’s 48 games, as the Clippers had a 33-15 record at this point in the 2013-2014 schedule. That season ended in a division title and the third seed in the conference. With the win over the Spurs (and another Portland loss), the Clippers are at third in the West entering February.
This team may look off at times for one reason or another. Games like Friday’s in New Orleans is a good example. But it’s been 19 games now since the Clippers lost consecutive contests. And they went from giving up 125 points in San Antonio in December to only 85 in January.
– Law Murray