Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: During the stretch where Toronto took their lead from 10 points to 29, it seemed DeMarre Carroll could be seen on every play on both ends of the floor. He finished the game with 4 steals, 5 rebounds, and tied for a team high 21 points on 8-13 shooting, all scored in the first half of the game.
That was … lethargic: The Clippers have had a recent history of sluggish play in matinee games, and the first half of today’s game was a shining example of that. The team would only score 11 points in the 2nd quarter, which is the second lowest scoring 2nd quarter for the Clippers since Chris Paul became a member of the team and only the fifth time the team has score 11 or less points in a quarter in that same span.
X factor: The Toronto Raptors are one of the league’s best teams in terms of free throw attempts as well as free throw percentage. This game was no different; the Raptors had 31 free throw attempts and converted 29 of them to the tune of 93.5%.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
OKC is 7-6, Clips are 6-7, Grizz 7-7, Houston 5-9 That's 4 of the top 6 WC teams
— Lucas J Hann (@LucasJHann) November 22, 2015
Loud commotion inside the Clipper locker room. Can hear it through the walls.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 22, 2015
Doc on the yelling from the Clippers' locker room: "It's a locker room after you lose like that. Guys are upset. That's about it."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 22, 2015
"I'm not proud of anyone right now — including me." — Doc Rivers
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) November 22, 2015
Check Your Messages
A Few Helpful Suggestions
1. Rebound, maybe? – It’s not like I don’t understand the theory of getting back on defense, but what good is playing great defense for 20 seconds to force a bad shot if you make zero effort on the defensive glass? The Clippers are forgetting fundamental things that kids are taught in junior high; put a body on your man, stick your butt out, jump for the rebound. Until they make some sort of collective push to collect those opportunities and stop giving opponents second chances (and third, and fourth…), this team will continue to lose games they should win. DJ can’t grab everything.
2. Protect the Ball – 20 turnovers. I could waste an entire paragraph here, but this seems so obvious we’re going to move on, or I’m going to need a new keyboard.
3. Find a bench rotation that works – Doc can’t be afraid to get radical here. Part of the problem is going too conservative; starting Paul Pierce over taking a flyer on Johnson or sticking with Stephenson, for example. Yes, Pierce is a veteran baller; he’s also damn near forty. He can’t keep up with any of the small forwards he’s going to be matched against, so stop trying. Doc went out to get all this youth and athleticism on the wing, but now refuses to use it. It makes no sense. It’s also clear that the bench is going to need more firepower and defensive leadership. This game proved that the bench plays better with at least one starter still in. Deandre Jordan did all the little things right during the second half defensive push that saw the team cut a 26-point lead down to 6, and his effort proved contagious. Why not try playing Redick with the bench as well? Or even, gasp, Lance Stephenson, whose playmaking ability would be a boon to an offense that disintegrates into Austin and Jamal taking turns not passing?
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Clippers are looking mighty desperate of late. It’s time to stop saying, “It’s early,” start saying, “this is bad,” and start asking, “what can we do to fix this?” It may be a long season, but time flies, and if nothing is done – and I mean RIGHT NOW – it just may pass this team by.
– Aaron Williams
Clarity and Playing Freely
There have been few games during the Clippers sluggish start to this season where they have played freely. And by that, I mean free from themselves. If losing once-held chemistry is a thing, then the Clippers are Exhibit A. The proof is in the lack of communication, the second-guessing on offense, and the overall lackluster effort on defense that has them at a pathetic 24th in team defense according to NBA.com. After tinkering with the roster during the summer, this team was expected to be among the title contenders in the Western Conference. Instead, they sit in a 6-7 hole with alarming issues on both ends of the floor.
During last season’s playoff run, an unleashed Clipper team made a crazy discovery: let’s milk Blake Griffin who can really overpower anyone in the post. Griffin took his game to a new level and it proved to be a formula that worked. We have seen those same shades from Griffin this season except other pieces around him have been disjointed and out of rhythm.
Ultimately, the mental state of the Clippers will be a collective thing but it surely helps when Chris Paul is healthy enough to unleash his will on games. A razor-focused Paul is a sight to see and probably a prime reason why the offense becomes crisp, movement is deliberate, and the offense hums. This has all been largely absent, but a looming six-game home stand against very beatable teams can be an opportunity to free themselves and regain that chemistry. In contrast, defense is predicated on effort – and unless that putrid ranking rises as a team, this will get worse very fast.
– Kaveh Jam
Go to a Clippers game this season, and listen as the team brings the ball up court. The P.A. system begins to play a tune, and though strangely new and modern, there is something about it that seems familiar. Begins to listen in and focus, searching for pieces of the tune that might identify what the song is, and then it hits: it’s the “Let’s Go Clippers!” chant theme, only remixed and chopped up so liberally that it’s a surprise it could be recognized at all.
Much of that can be said about the team as well. The particulars are still there. The keys look the same. And yet, it’s hard to make out what exactly is happening on the floor. Where did all the lobs go? What is going on with those three-point shooting percentages? What happened to Chris Paul and “Winning Time”?
Yes, there have been many new pieces to fit in the band. That is enough to explain why the team appears to lack the vibe of what many know these Clippers to be when they’re performing at their peak. It’s not any stretch of the mind to believe that the new pieces can be incorporated well into a structure where the stars can continue to shine as they have in the past. But rather than try and take the notes given and see how to overdo what was previously a solid tune, it’s about time they just listened to each other to focus on the what made the song great in the first place.
– Brandon Tomyoy