Some quick numbers from the first six games of the series:

Field Goals Attempted:

















The Rest


Of course, you have to keep in mind that FGA doesn't take into account trips to the line, but those figures pretty much factor out how you'd expect they would: Brand, Cassell, Maggette leading the way, followed by about a trip each for the rest of the rotation - Livingston being the exception. 

Chris Kaman is shooting over 60% from the floor from the series and, not surprisingly, Corey Maggette leads the team in points per shot.  In a stroke of poeticism, both Kaman and Maggette are far and away the leaders in turnovers per minute. 

What's been more encouraging about Maggette's contribution in the series is his work on the defensive glass.  In the six games, Corey is averaging 8.2 boards a game; what's remarkable, but hardly without explanation, is the split (7.9 defensive, 0.3 offensive).  Corey isn't a post player, despite some futile attempts in game five that prompted Dunleavy (among other reasons) to opt for Vlad and Shaun in the second half.  Corey is still a lousy help defender.  But good players learn to compensate their deficiencies - and Corey Maggette decided to use his athleticism to offset his...well...whatever it is that prevents him from recognizing a weak-side becoming a rebounding fiend.  Brand, Kaman, Mobley, et al have pretty much maintained their rebounding averages in this series.  Sam has collected a few more - largely a product of long PHX misses. 

But Corey has been the difference on the defensive boards.  And since I've been a vocal Corey skeptic, it's only fair that I throw some love his way. 

As a Dunleavy skeptic, I guess I owe him a round of hosannas too. 

Among the adjustments Dunleavy made on Thursday night at Staples was going to Ross in the post while maintaining Brand and Kaman's dominance there as well.  What this did was draw Phoenix's defenders down low.  This created oppotunities for Corey Maggette to go to work - take rotating defenders who aren't set off the dribble, perch himself on the arc for an open jumper once Elton drew the double-team, drive to the rim and draw contact where he saw instability in the defense.   

I wrote this before and I still maintain that there's no reason that the Clips can't have their cake and eat it too against PHX.  Elton Brand and Chris Kaman are not exclusively the only post players on this squad.  Quinton Ross looks like a Sally Struthers case file, but he was posting Steve Nash like he's been doing all his life; Cat's most effective offensive work this series has been backing his defender down.  And posting your midsize players isn't posting for posting sake either.  What it does is open up the arc for guys like Maggette, Vlad and Sam to go to work.  The Clippers' strength is their versatility, and by relegating themselves purely to a "big" or "small" game is handing over the answer key to PHX. 

What Game Six proved is that the Clippers are at their best when they mix it up - and I don't mean game-by-game, or quarter-by-quarter, or substitution-by-substitution.  No.

Possession-by-possession.  Second-by-second. 

Maybe Cat will back his guy down and shoot over him, or maybe he'll drop it into a slashing Corey, or maybe he'll kick it back up top to Sam who will then quickly run the side screen for EB in the post.  How many teams have a candy dish full of surprises like that they can run in the halfcourt?   One.  The Dallas Mavericks.   

When the Clippers have been unsuccessful offensively in this series (and I'm referring to Game Three and stretches of Game Five), it's because they've committed themselves to a single offensive dogma. 

The trick to beating PHX is making them worry about every weapon in the arsenal simultaneously - the menacing post game from the bigs that demands a presence down low, Maggette's speed on the perimeter that requires constant surveillance, the guards' eagerness to back down Nash and Barbosa that calls for help defenders -- thereby opening up additional opportunities for the offense somewhere else. 

It's one of the reasons I loved the Cassell-Maggette-Ross-Brand-Kaman lineup the Clips had on the floor during stretches Thursday night.  Once Ross committed himself to posting up Nash, it created far too many defensive problems for PHX.  Look at the shot chart - the Clips weren't lighting it up from long distance.  They were merely getting ridiculously high-percentage shots. 

You don't shoot 61.5% by accident.