Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors
MVP: While Stephen Curry was unstoppable for most of the game, it was Klay Thompson’s inspired play in the 3rd quarter that turned a 2 point game at the half into a blowout. He would go 7 of 10 from deep, finishing with 32 points on 12 of 21 shots total on the evening.
That was … a lack of support: Statistically, DeAndre Jordan had one of his best games ever against the Warriors, scoring 19 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Unfortunately for him, the rest of his team struggled mightily, with only 27 points coming from the entire rest of the starting unit.
X factor: While Chris Paul and J.J. Redick are usually dependable, tonight was just not their night. The two combined to shoot 8-29 on their field goal attempts, and 2-12 from beyond the three-point line.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Uncharacteristic Chris Paul game tonight. He’s missed an open Redick on the perimeter more times than usual. Almost always finds him.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 24, 2016
Paul came in averaging more points against the Warriors (27.7) than any other West. Conf. team this year. Shot's just off tonight.
— Rowan Kavner (@RowanKavner) March 24, 2016
DeAndre Jordan just stuck with Curry on a switch and forced him to shoot a corner 3 off the top of the backboard. #MinorVictories
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 24, 2016
Clippers end the last extensive trip of the season 1-4. Were -7.2 over that period. Limping to the finish.
— Kaveh Jam (@KavehsRoom) March 24, 2016
Check Your Messages
Heading into Wednesday night’s marquee matchup with the Golden State Warriors, Clippers sharpshooter JJ Redick was averaging 18.1 points a game on 51% shooting in less than 30 minutes a game. Against the Warriors, he was 4-13 from the field, 1-6 from 3, and only scored 9 points. Needless to say – but I’m saying it anyway – that is not going to cut it against the hottest shooting team in the league.
It always raises some interesting questions; one has to wonder why the Clippers have been so bad at adjusting when the shots aren’t falling. Once again, the only Clippers starter to visit the free throw line for double digit tries was DeAndre Jordan. For a team with 3 of the best free throw shooters in the league, this sort of this is unacceptable.
It’s clear that no team is going to beat Golden State at their own game. At this point, coach Doc Rivers has to start taking in-game adjustments seriously, because so much rides on J.J. Redick’s shooting that when it’s not there, it has the potential to derail the whole offense. Give the Dubs credit, they were able to make JJ work for every shot he took, and the fatigue was evident in the shortness of practically every miss tonight. They found a way to turn Los Angeles’ greatest strength into a weakness – a weakness the Clippers can ill afford going into the Playoffs.
Heavy Legs, Heavy Shoulders
It is really amazing the kind of season Chris Paul is having. Statistically it is arguably one of his best seasons while being asked to wear multiple hats. Much offensive responsibility falls on his shoulders without Blake Griffin. Not only is Paul functioning as a catalyst to score but he is the de facto linchpin for guys like DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick to get theirs as well. If Paul’s wheels are not in constant motion, if the shot is not dropping, the energy perhaps understandably dragging – the Clippers offense wilts.
The worry is – and has been – that the weight from running the offense almost entirely solo will eventually run him into the ground. Nights like tonight give credence to that point. Paul did finish with 8 assists, but shot 4-for-16, and did not have his usual finger tips imprinted on the game.
The Warriors did that thing they do where they force your lineup to adjust to them and not the other way around. Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson played the entire fourth quarter and with that kind of size, they had no issues simply shooting over the smaller Clippers – even when they did properly get over on screens. L.A. is not exactly the greatest defensive team of all-time and it becomes even painfully more clear when they look tired and road weary against an opponent that flesh’s out these sort of inefficiencies.
The one bright spot for the Clippers tonight was DeAndre Jordan. He rebounded with a level of ferocity that has been seen on more than one occasion this season, but to come against a team that has Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut on their roster is especially of note. On offense, he was aggressive, even driving to the basket on some plays to either initiate contact or simply find his way to the rim by going right through his defender. Again, not easy against Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut. And on defense, it was highly encouraging to watch him hold his own when switched on to Stephen Curry, perhaps forcing the reigning MVP into one of the ugliest shots he’s missed all season.
It leads one to wonder what might have been had the other Clippers not laid a collective egg on the night, or at least if the Clippers starting backcourt of J.J. Redick and Chris Paul had not had their worst collective shooting night since the two have played on the same team. Not much can be done to change the outcome now, but the hope is that DeAndre can build off his inspired play from tonight, as there haven’t been many other highlights for this team in what has been a difficult March.