Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Two games ago, I lamented the fact that DeAndre Jordan didn’t get enough clock down the stretch in Game 2. Poor free throw shooting be damned! Jordan missed twenty free throws in this game – but he made 14, and he was a difference-maker on both ends of the court, scoring 26 points in 30 minutes. Jordan also added 17 rebounds, while his counterpart Dwight Howard was disqualified and ejected in only 18 minutes.
That was … even more foul than Game 2: Again, free throws are good for you. The Clippers learned that the hard way after Tuesday night’s game in Houston that led to 64 free throw attempts for the Rockets. Interestingly, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale may have to take his own advice and stop hacking the Clippers. But Jordan could have missed all 34 free throws he attempted – the Clippers won this game by 33 points! Houston was blitzed in the third quarter yet again, giving up 43 points, while the Rockets were outscored 68-41 after halftime.
X factor: Don’t look now, but the Clippers are getting strong performances from their reserve guards at the same time. 35-year-old Jamal Crawford and 22-year-old Austin Rivers combined for 25 of L.A.’s 41 bench points. Rivers made only 30 percent of his threes during the season, but he’s made 12 of 25 from downtown in 11 playoff games: a scorching 48 percent clip. And Crawford has scored in double figures for six straight playoff games, one away from tying the longest such stretch of his career. On the flipside, Crawford and Rivers outscored Houston’s bench by themselves tonight, as Brewer, Smith and co. only managed to score 23 points on 26 shots.
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
You can do this when you're up 30 https://t.co/jrin4urkik
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) May 11, 2015
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) May 11, 2015
Doc Rivers on Donald Sterling anniversary: "Half the men can't remember their wedding anniversary, why would I want to remember that one?"
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 11, 2015
James Harden on the Hack-a-Shaq "Personally I don't like it, but a lot of coaches have different philosophies on the game"
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 11, 2015
Check Your Messages
Dwight Howard is an elite rim protector. He’s also the only Rockets big that has played well thus far in this series. The thought of him waiting at the rim is enough for many players to change their shot or pass the ball to another player. So it’s not often that a game happens where three straight lob dunks are served up over Dwight with him only able to look up at the basket and bear witness. It’s even less likely to have Austin Rivers attack the basket without concern that D12 is waiting at the rim.
And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Blake Griffin even gave his best attempt at redefining the center’s name in the lexicon, much like he’s done in the past with Mozgov, Perkins, and Humphries.
For a team that has lost any semblance of defense outside of the paint, Houston can only hope that there is some defense left inside of it. Having Dwight in foul trouble all night hindered this, and the Clippers showed no hesitation to make what was once a strength of the Rockets into a glaring weakness. It’s been difficult enough in this series for Houston to contain the league’s top ranked offense, and if the impact of their best defender now lies as an afterthought for LAC, this series might be over much sooner than many expected it to.”
– Brandon Tomyoy