Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs. Houston Rockets (3)
12:30 p.m. PST
May 17, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket/ ABC
Video of the Day
1. Given 24 hours to digest Game 6, was that just an incredible run by the Rockets or a horrendous choke-job by the Clippers?
Brandon Tomyoy, (@dingyu): It’s a bit from column A and a bit from column B. There is something miraculous both in Josh Smith’s three-point explosion in the face of his known shortcomings shooting from long range as well as the Clippers’ inability to make layups or open threes at the same time. In the lexicon of Murphy’s Law, some would argue the outcome of this game has earned a place on the mantle alongside Bill Buckner, but much to the chagrin of longtime Angels fans, even that piece of sports lore doesn’t happen without Donny Harris joining the mantle first. For the Clips, there is both suffering and solace to take in last night’s outcome; it’s an excruciating series of events to tie emotions to, but the sort of success Smith and even Brewer saw shooting the three ball falls more in the realm of anomaly than the realm of regularity.
Seth Partnow, (@SethPartnow): Yes. Well, sort of. It wasn’t a choke job such as last year’s meltdown vs. OKC where the Clips threw the ball all over the gym and made boneheaded plays trying to “draw” three FTs. During Houston’s extended run, you’d have to say the Clippers got the looks they wanted. They just missed and missed badly, and you can’t simply chalk that up to bad luck. Similarly, credit to Houston for playing fast and loose and knocking down shots.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): Not to take anything away from Houston, but the answer is the Clippers. That said, it’s kind of crazy they were sitting pretty after three quarters to begin with, considering Barnes, Redick, and Crawford were a combined 11-31 from the field at that point. They continued missing shots in the fourth going 1-7, but so too did Blake Griffin, who went 0-5 — and the team defense absolutely vanished.
2. If you’re Doc Rivers, are there any lessons to take away from Game 6 entering Game 7 for the Clippers or do you just try to erase it from memory?
Tomyoy: This isn’t a game for either Doc or the team to erase from memory any time soon. Considering they are such an emotional team, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be able to, either. That’s not a bad thing, as the risk of repeating these mistakes should help to battle the tendencies to play too tight. But there are also significant takeaways in the defense that the Rockets played against the Clippers in the final eight minutes of the game that nullified the effectiveness or Chris Paul and his ability to create space in the midrange, instead forcing the rest of the team to make their shots. That’s not to say that the shots they did take were bad, either, and it would be a surprise to see a third straight game where Redick, Crawford, and Barnes all struggle so mightily to find the bottom of the net. But the fourth quarter has long been Paul’s quarter, and there isn’t a player on this team that is more confident in finishing the game with the ball in his hands.
Partnow: Run it back. Tell the guys to shoot the ball like they want to be shooting it. Maybe spend a little time talking about how to defend a Josh Smith/Dwight Howard high pick-and-roll. But other than that, the response needed is mental more than strategic.
James: I can barely stomach thinking about that game, so I don’t know you ask someone who experienced it first hand to re-live it. But for all his shortcomings as a GM, Doc Rivers has a pretty well established reputation as a motivator (and a communicator). The Clippers know how to beat the Rockets; it’s up to Doc to make them believe they can.
3. Pick the winner.
Tomyoy: While it seems their roster can’t help but create unneeded adversity for themselves, they also haven’t been ones to shy from it. I’ll say Clippers.
Partnow: Golden State. The NBA. America. Maalox.
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