- (1st, 7:33) One of the few ancillary benefits of a missed Clipper PUJIT in this series is that PHX's defense is rarely set when the shot goes up. When Mobley fires at :19, Brand has controlled position on the weak-side block. This is EB's office tonight, and these are his two easiest points.
- (1st, 4:41, 4:39) Let's state the obvious here - the purpose of running an offensive set in the pro game is to obtain a sick matchup advantage over your opponent. When Vlad sets the high screen for Cassell, he picks up Nash on the switch and lures Stevie down to the weak side block, meanwhile Brand is backing down Thomas on the right side post. Brand misses the shot, but with nobody on Vlad except Nash, Vlad picks up the board, misses, followed by Brand coming in to close. Two Points.
- (1st, 3:36) Off a Mobley fadeaway miss, Marion isn't anywhere in position - so it's Vlad and the Lilliputians. Easy tip-in over Raja Bell. Two points. [side note: John likes Raja on account of the whole the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend equation, but he's far too floppy for my liking.]
- (1st, 2:41) This is one of those strange statistical technicalities where a stripped ball/blocked shot out-of-bounds gets recorded as an "offensive rebound." That's what happens when Barbosa strips EB of the ball.
- (1st, 1:14) Off a sick baseline pass from Livingston, Brand uncharacteristically misses the little chippy, but collects his miss because Tim Thomas couldn't box out Lara Flynn Boyle if she got any semblance of position - much less EB. Thomas fouls him, and EB goes to the line, sinking 1 of 2.
- (1st, :21) Sam recognizes and loves the Eddie House matchup. He fires a jump shot over Casa, misses and then actually stutter-steps when he realizes that nobody in a white uniform has much interest in collecting the ball. Cassell follows his shot. What happened? Everyone PHX player was busy lacing up their trainers ready for the next offensive set, totally unmindful of the fact that, you know, maybe Sam might miss the shot. No matter. Two points either way.
- (2nd, 11:44) A pattern is starting to emerge: every time a Clipper shot goes up, the rest of the team is staking out position on the weak side glass. Textbook example here when Waltah fires up an awkward runner that draws only glass - but Mobley races in to fetch the rebound and an easy two.
I'm a big Barbosa guy, but watching these sequences in slo-mo, I'm starting to feel sorry for the guy. He has no rebounding game whatsoever and is an absolute liability to his team once a shot goes up.
- (2nd, 8:55) Again, that weird statistical oddity whereby a blocked shot out-of-bounds is tallied as an offensive rebound. Here, it's Mobley's ill-fated inside lay-in against TT.
- (2nd, 8:11) As Dave Han did earlier, let's welcome Chris Kaman to the Western Conference Semifinals, shall we? Off a missed EB 15-footer, Kaman lords over Boris Diaw on the block, collects the miss, goes up strong with that left hand. Two points. This is particularly large because the Clips haven't hit from the field since John and I called Hop Li for some takeout.
- (2nd, 7:28) Maggette finds Kaman with superior position over Diaw on the right block. Kaman has a nice look here off a nice spin move left into the paint. It's a shot he makes about 60% of the time and it'll go down Friday night. What happens here is that when Marion leaves EB to contest Kaman's shot, it opens up some space for Elton to follow Kaman's miss, which he does with an easy tip-in. Two more second chancers for EB.
- (2nd, 6:43) The Clippers kill two birds with one stone here as Kaman sets a nice high screen on Barbosa to create an open jump shot for Mobley at the top of the circle. Upon Mobley's release and with nobody but a staggering Barbosa on him off the switch, Kaman crashes the lane and is there for the board. He dribbles baseline for a better look, then drops the ball in with ease. Two more for Kaman.
- (2nd, 6:15) Almost every possession now. Maggette puts up a ridiculous shot, so ridiculous, in fact, that it effectively becomes a jump ball under the rim. Mobley does what he's been doing effectively all night - race to the weak side glass upon any Clipper outside release. Sure enough, he's there to collect. Two points for Cat.
- (2nd, 1:49, 1:47) The Clippers' big guards are really exploiting Barbosa in the half-court now. Livingston uses his size to get inside against Leandro, misses the layup, but out of the scrum comes Kaman with the board (which makes sense since he's the biggest guy out there by, like, four inches). Kaman misses, but Livingston gets the easy tip because Barbosa is helpless. I can't stress this enough. We love the kid's speed, but he's going to kill PHX defensively in the half-court. Two points.
- (2nd, :47) Off a long miss by Mobley, Livingston scrambles for the board. This is the advantage of having a long 6'7" point guard roaming around your offense. With a twelve point lead and the half winding down, he brings the rock back out to reset. The ball is swung around and ultimately returns to Shaun, who has his shot blocked. No conversion here off the offensive board - but the Clippers, at least, slow the tempo once again by chewing up another possession on their end.
- (3rd, 8:42) Off a Q missed jumper (Q shot 5-10 from the field last night. My man was a contributor), Kaman snags a difficult rebound over both Diaw and James Jones. Jones hacks a frustration foul, and the Clippers reset. The Clips ultimately deliver into Kaman in the post, Marion fouls Chris this time and Chris converts both foul shots. Two more.
- (3rd, 5:54) Nice pass from Mobley in the left corner when he spots Q in the paint. Q, not the master of the slick post moves, has his shot blocked by the Matrix, but stays with the follow, bodies up against James Jones - who has come over to help - for the put back, sinks the lay-in off the glass...and one. Clipper by 21 after the make.
- (3rd, 2:08) Cassell gets some space against TT on the perimeter, fires up a jumper at :09 (and this is a good thing). The greatest thing to watch here is EB just brutalizing Shawn Marion under the glass to collect the miss. The Clippers are killing them, just pounding them at will. Up by 15 at this juncture, EB send out back out to Sam to reset. The Clips don't convert here, but manage to eat thirty seconds between PHX possessions.
- (4th, 10:48) Off the Vlad 3-point miss, EB slashes in for the rebound and fires a beautiful pass to Shaun on the baseline for a dunk. EB has never been a superlative passer in this league, but has improves markedly over the second half of this season - it helps to have teammates who know where they're supposed to be on the basketball court. Two more.
That's about it - roll the dice a little by crashing the offensive glass rather than worrying about getting back on every miss. Don't be careless about it, but pick your spots strategically. Mobley is a genius for setting up shop on the weak side glass; let Kaman know that his best work will be off misses and, for good measure, stick a picture of Boris Diaw on his locker. Keep your speed team out there for additional chances. And, whenever possible, get your bigs switched onto Barbosa and down into the post. These are fairly simple remedies to (a) grab 15 extra offensive boards a game to the tune of 20-30 points and (b) a nifty way to keep the ball on your end of the floor for an extra few possessions. Hey...every little bit counts.