Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul had his most assists ever in a Clipper uniform tonight, notching 19 dimes to go with his 21 points. Seven of those assists came in a crucial 4th quarter, and in total, the 19 assists lead to a total of 46 points of offense.
That was … good composure: Despite giving up 58 second half points, the Clippers did not allow the lost momentum to translate into a loss, continually stretching their lead after multiple occasions in which the Trailblazers had cut the lead into single digits. Their 23 point lead never shrunk to less than 6, and they managed to walk away with a double-digit victory on the road.
X factor: CJ McCollum, Portland’s second-leading scorer, was not circled on the lineup sheet. Instead, Luis Montero, whose name sits right next to McCollum’s on the sheet, would be circled, and Terry Stotts would sign the lineup card without noticing the error. Due to NBA rules, McCollum was forced to sit out from tonight’s game due to this lineup sheet error. Had the Blazers attempted to play McCollum, he would have been ejected.
Allegedly, Doc Rivers was approached by the Blazers requesting to adjust the lineup sheet, but this was later clarified by the NBA, stating that the Clippers had no role in deciding whether or not McCollum could play.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
It's a dog eat dog world. Guys get fired for wins and losses. So if true, I don't blame Doc for not allowing CJ to play.
— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) January 7, 2016
Portland avoiding Clipper offensive players like they're neither fair trade nor organic. LAC up 31-16.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 7, 2016
This was the 9th time this season a team had 15+ offensive rebounds against the Clippers. Oddly enough, Clippers are 8-1 in those games now.
— Clips Nation (@ClipsNationSBN) January 7, 2016
Check Your Messages
For the 5th time in 3 seasons, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has led his squad on a 7-game winning streak. Only one team wins a championship a year, and even that’s not a panacea of criticism – Rivers has a ring as a head coach, and folks work to discredit that accomplishment.
This ability to manage a team through a season isn’t unheard of for Rivers. Writers love to get sensitive about injuries and how they negatively affect teams, yet Rivers consistently keeps the trains on the tracks. Rivers has dealt with injury to Blake Griffin, as well as made the tough decision to sit a player who would have been a replacement in Josh Smith, and has responded with the team’s longest win streak of the season so far.
For reference, here are the other Clippers/Braves head coaches who have led the franchise to 7-game winning streaks:
Vinny Del Negro: 1
Mike Schuler: 1
Gene Shue: 1
Jack Ramsay: 3
That’s 2 other Los Angeles coaches (in 29 years), one streak in San Diego (6 seasons), and a Hall of Fame head coach in Buffalo (8 seasons). That’s an impressive feat for Rivers.
This is simply to say that the Clippers are taking care of business. The teams they have beaten aren’t anything to write home about. They had three days off before going up the coast to beat a team who mistakenly left their 2nd-best scorer off the active roster. But stacking wins is the bottom line. And Rivers has done it better than any coach in the franchise’s history.
Missed a Spot
Back in 2014, during a March 1st game where the Clippers were set to face off against the Pelicans, a lineup card was submitted by one Doc Rivers that had not circled the name of Danny Granger, who had recently joined the team after being bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers. For a team that needed reinforcement at the Small Forward position, it was a prime opportunity to see the newly-acquired former all-star in action, and yet, that would not be the case.
The game would result in a blowout of the Pelicans, and the end result doesn’t really factor in the long-term of the Clippers in any way at this point. But the error did happen with the lineup sheet, just like it did on this evening with Terry Stotts and the Blazers.
Doc Rivers wasn’t allowed to make the change to his own lineup sheet against a 12th place New Orleans team. Why should it be allowed to the Blazers in this case?