Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: With their second half lead cut back into single digits, Chris Paul would hit two threes on the next two Clippers possessions to put the game out of reach. They would cap off his stellar night, where he tallied 21 points on 7-12 shooting along with 6 rebounds and 8 assists.
That was … forward variation: While certain games have appeared to show an apprehension towards using all the small forwards on the roster in the same game, Doc Rivers found a way to play Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson, and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute in different stretches, giving them all a chance to share the minutes played based on roster needs.
X factor: With DeAndre Jordan was ejected at the 6:48 mark of the third quarter, Doc turned to Josh Smith to play the five spot for the remainder of the quarter. Smith filled the role capably en route to his highest scoring game in a Clippers uniform (13 points), including two three pointers in the last minute of the period.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— LA Kings (@LAKings) December 17, 2015
— NBA (@NBA) December 17, 2015
Blake Griffin said Clippers have "put ourselves in a position to not really get that leeway" with technical fouls. Clippers lead league.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) December 17, 2015
Check Your Messages
Three and Free
The Clippers made more than half of their three-point attempts for the 1st time all season, and it is not a surprise that SG J.J. Redick had a role in that. Redick made 3 of the Clippers’ 11 threes tonight, with the Clippers attempting 21.
It is more surprising that Redick had just as much of a role in the Clippers outscoring the Bucks from the FT line Wednesday night by 11 points. Redick made all 6 of his FT attempts, including 3 in the 1st quarter alone. It’s the 4th time this season that Redick made at least 6 FTs in a game this season.
Redick is averaging a career-high 3.1 FTAs per game this season. While it’s not a major number for a scorer, it’s a surprising development for a 10-year veteran. We all know Redick can shoot, and he’s making a career-high 46.2 percent from 3 this season. But his willingness to get to the line more often has been a key to keeping his defenders off balance.
Of course, Redick used to get to the line all the time at Duke. He averaged 3.3 FTAs per game as a freshman, and 7.1 FTAs as a senior 10 years ago. I guess you could say that he continues to get better with age?
– Law Murray
Bringing the Party to You
Jazz hands after an assist. High-stepping after a no-look pass. Stealing the ball for a breakaway dunk, then missing a defensive assignment on the ensuing play. Running up the court with arms high like goalposts for a made three by a teammate.
That’s been the Lance Stephenson experience, and all these moments are singular to tonight’s game.
Youthful exuberance can be grating to the uninitiated. That feeling of intensity and that stark contrast to what comfort zone one has settled into leads to puzzled stares and a search for an “off” switch. It’s so easy to forget that in many ways, that exuberance is what many saw and still see from the Clippers. It endears some to the team while repelling others, sure. The same could be said of Lance. Yet for a team that can at times seem like it has forgotten how to have fun while playing winning basketball, the exuberance he brings would appear as an ideal antidote to the doldrums of this team.
After the game, Doc Rivers mentioned that the team is starting to “get” Lance. And why couldn’t they?
Yes, keeping up with that level of energy can be exhausting.
But energy can be infectious, too.
– Brandon Tomyoy