Los Angeles Clippers (16-12) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (18-9)
7:30 p.m. PST
December 21, 2015
Fox Prime Ticket/ NBA TV
1. Who was the last “good” team the Clippers beat?
J.D Evans: Do the Pistons count? Because if not, it was Memphis on November 9th. And that sounds bad. But considering how poorly the Clips have been playing, it’s nice to see that they’re still fourth in the West. They could play really well and still only be fourth in the West. If they can get it together in a few months, this string of mediocrity won’t sound quite so terrible.
Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU): Well, just last Monday, the Clippers beat the Pistons in Detroit. I don’t like to overcomplicate these things. Both of those teams are 16-12. Two good teams. Period.
Roscoe Whalan (@RoscoeWhalan7): Ah, the false sense of security that still being fourth in the West provides. It’s like Chris Paul said, “We’re not a team that anybody needs to be worried about”. Yes, the Pistons win in Detroit was both gritty and solid but there is a way bigger overarching problem here. The Clippers have absolute zero notches in their belt worth talking about and we’re 30 games into the season.
2. Which front court do you prefer: Blake & DJ or Adams & Ibaka?
Evans: For this to be a real question, you’d have to remember that paying Adams and Ibaka Adams and Ibaka money leaves a team with money to pay Durant and Westbrook, which is better than Paul and Redick. But leaving that aside, Blake is better than Ibaka, and DJ is better than Adams.
Murray: Griffin and Jordan. Again, another case of two big men who are asked to do a lot more heavy lifting for their respective teams. Ibaka has more range and is a better shotblocker than Griffin, but Griffin can create offense for himself and his teammates, and even rebounds better than Ibaka. Adams is a sound defender and uses his body well, something that is inconsistent with Jordan. But Jordan is a better finisher and athlete.
Whalan: Griffin and Jordan — and that’s meant with no disrespect to the Thunder big men. Blake doesn’t quite stretch the floor like Ibaka yet but he’s edging out there and continues to round out his game. While Adams provides solid 8/10 defense every night, Jordan is a more dangerous all-around big man by far.
3. Is Billy Donovan the best “new” coach in the NBA?
Evans: No, even though he has almost no competition. Consider the Thunder’s level of talent, and consider that they’re 2.5 games ahead of the Clippers, on whom the sky is falling. Now remember that Scott Skiles has the Magic 2.5 games back of the Thunder. Evan Fournier didn’t do that on his own. Donovan’s done a good job, but he’s done it with great materials.
Murray: Until Luke Walton has to move down a seat for Steve Kerr, there’s no question that he’s the best “new” coach this season. As for Donovan? He has his team atop the division, even though some of their losses this season have been maddening. But at least he doesn’t have his players constantly undercutting his coaching (Re: Chicago Bulls).
Whalan: Well, his players aren’t calling him out for not coaching hard enough — I think, for now, that’ll probably do.