Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: There was a time when the Clippers gave Rockets SG James Harden problems. After tonight, consider those problems solved. Harden followed up his 43-point Friday night in Sacramento with a 46-point explosion in Los Angeles, with Drake sitting courtside. Lil B, what happened?
That was … another Game 6 letdown: In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Clippers had hosted the Rockets in Game 6, with a chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets prevailed in that game, despite a double-digit Clippers lead heading into the 4th quarter. Tonight, with the Clippers holding another logistical advantage (the Clippers were off for 2 days, Houston was playing a 2nd road game in as many nights), the Rockets were able to turn a 10-point deficit into a 10-point lead that the Clippers were never really able to overcome. Blake Griffin was great again, dropping 35 points and generally looking like the generational talent that he is.
X factor: PG Chris Paul missed his first game of the season, opening up a starting opportunity for Austin Rivers and playing time for Pablo Prigioni. It didn’t exactly go well. Prigioni missed all 5 of his shots from the field and is now 0-for-9 this season. He still had more assists in 16 minutes (2) than Rivers had in 31 minutes (1).
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Apparently you don’t tell James Harden that he’s got his rhythm going now. https://t.co/dlMBpccbXd
— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) November 8, 2015
In today’s edition of “Stuff Blake Griffin Does That No Other Power Forward Can” pic.twitter.com/oJ8IOFJBY8
— Tunde SMD (@ProducerTD) November 8, 2015
The Clips can’t defend wing creators for the 87th straight year. They didn’t lose that game because of a missed goaltending call.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) November 8, 2015
Check Your Messages
Urgency is the name of the game
Play every game as if you’re living on the brink of playoff elimination. The Clippers at the moment wreak an odor of misguided calmness in their floor demeanor. That’s fine if all the boxes in the game plan are being checked off. It’s also fine if you’re making the requisite cuts in the half court or running cohesive fast breaks. Maybe even consider collectively becoming one on defense (shoring up the defensive glass). The detriment the Clippers faced was a far too methodical approach in a game where Chris Paul – arguably the team’s most valuable player – was absent.
Being in a position to still win at the end is definitely still encouraging. But I’m reading between the lines because this effort in May won’t pass. There is little realistic chance of toppling a Rockets team when Harden puts 46 on you and Dwight Howard has the freedom in the paint to collect a 20/20 game. Urgency prevents some of this to a degree – and the benefits you reap from that urgency in the playoffs are built up on these quiet November nights.
– Kaveh Jam
Through 6 games, the Clippers have shot 27.5 percent from three-point range. They have missed 100 threes already!
That’s the worst start shooting threes through 6 games for the Clippers since the 05-06 season, but that team only attempted 51 threes through 6 games. This year, the Clippers have attempted 138 threes already.
Things should average out a bit. Paul is off to a slow start (5-of-18, 27.8 percent), along with Paul Pierce (5-of-21, 23.8 percent), Jamal Crawford (3-of-17, 17.8 percent), and Wesley Johnson (2-of-10, 20.0 percent).
But for a team that has paint vacuum DeAndre Jordan and the best playmaking big man in the league in Griffin, it’s a major disappointment that the Clippers can’t get their shooters going. J.J. Redick is still shooting well, making 12-of-27 threes (44.4 percent). But Redick’s streak of at least 1 made three was snapped at 19 games, as he missed both of his attempts tonight.
The Clippers were 3rd in the NBA in three-point percentage last season, making 37.6 percent of their threes. Right now, only the Grizzlies and Nets are worst shooting threes – a significant dropoff.
– Law Murray
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