Los Angeles Clippers (27-14) vs Cleveland Cavaliers (29-11)
The Q Arena
5:00 p.m. PST
January 21, 2015
1. True or False: J.J. Redick is the 2015-16 version of Kyle Korver.
William Bohl (@breakthehuddle): True – he might be even better than Korver was last season. Redick’s shooting is off the charts, but I think he brings more to the table as a defender and can do a bit more with the ball in his hands as well.
Sareen Tavidian (@serenetavidian): False. I see J.J. Redick as the better, more diverse version of Kyle Korver. Although, both play similar roles, they execute them differently. Korver is the better shooter, but Redick is the quicker player, which becomes beneficial both on offense and defense. He’s quick on his feet and almost floats in and out of screens. With a 49 percent shooting average following Monday night’s game against the Rockets, Redick has proved to be one of the biggest reasons behind the Clippers’ success.
Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU): I opened up this can of worms a week ago about Redick and Korver. I’m still going to say false, even though my Last Call posts haven’t failed to praise Redick all month. It was great to see Korver earn an All-Star spot last year, and he did it for the Eastern Conference’s best team while putting up a more versatile line. Redick is scoring more than Korver ever did, and his shooting is right in line (Redick is currently clocking in at 49/50/90 if you round up, like you should). But Korver delivered more rebounds and assists while making more of an impact defensively.
2. Who’s got bigger question marks on their title aspirations: Los Angeles or Cleveland?
Bohl: Los Angeles has the bigger question marks. There’s a chance they’ll have to get through San Antonio AND Golden State, whereas the Cavs will only have to deal with one of the two. Cleveland has issues to sort out, no doubt, but they ought to make the Finals by default. The Clips have no such guarantees.
Tavidian: At this point the Clippers have the bigger question mark because they are facing a tougher Western Conference, while Cleveland is part of a weaker Eastern Conference. Cleveland has the number one league standing in the East and has players such as Lebron James, who have reached the Finals before and are prepared, come Playoff time, to turn it up a notch for another chance at victory. The Clippers have yet to prove themselves in the playoffs and as Shaq noted during TNT’s post game report on Monday night, the players as a whole are still lacking the demeanor needed to be considered a championship caliber team.
Murray: It will always be Los Angeles. Always. The Clippers have never shown that they are title contenders, which in my book is making the conference finals. The Cavaliers’ floor is the Conference Finals. That’s not just a byproduct of the conferences either. The Cavaliers are going to be a better team come the postseason. The Clippers are playing very well right now, but let’s see how well they handle this road trip, which also hopefully coincides with the return (and interesting re-integration) of PF Blake Griffin.
3. Rate the Kyrie comeback out of 10.
Bohl: So far, I give it a 5/10. He’s been a little up and down; the team clearly hasn’t just picked up right where they left off over the final few months of the 2014-15 season, when they lit the world on fire.
Tavidian: 7. Kyrie Irving has bounced back very well after his injury. Although his team might be slightly struggling, Irving has made a noticeable difference with a number of big plays in the past couple of weeks, along with his motivational energy, allowing the Cavs to continue their drive for the #1 seed.
Murray: I’ll give it an 8. The Cavaliers have won 11 of 14 games he played in. The three losses were nationally televised bad looks: twice to the Warriors, one in embarrassing blowout fashion on MLK Day, and once in San Antonio. That’s pretty damn good. Now, Irving hasn’t impressed much, with the notable exception of splitting that hole that is the Houston defense. (That move was so good it stopped a Notorious JVG rant.) Irving hasn’t been as aggressive going to the basket and drawing fouls, making a lot of plays, or shooting well. But it’s January. The regular season matters … but it means different things to different players. Irving is in the final stages of his rehab, it just happens to be on the court.
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