ClipperBlog’s Charlie Widdoes, Jordan Heimer and Michael Shagrin discuss the Clippers 2nd statement win in as many nights.
1. Was Blake Griffin’s dunk over Kendrick Perkins his best yet?
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: Yes.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Like a parent with his children, I love all of Blake’s dunks differently. What this one had – besides of course sheer size – was the right moment, at home, against the conference’s best, over one of the league’s scowliest hardasses. They showed that thing on the Staples Center Jumbotron 10 times and the crowd was still on its feet begging for one more.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: No, but a close second. I would understand the sentiment if your favorite BG blow-up before tonight was the Mozgovian Marvel, but I was personally a fan of the 360 on Gallinari from that same fateful night against the Knicks. In the hierarchy of Griffin highlights, the Perkins Poster is definitely amongst the royalty.
2. What was the most promising theme that emerged from this victory?
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: A tie between great ball movement and much smarter defensive rotations. The Clips tallied 28 assists and enjoyed high-percentage looks all night because of crisp passes and cuts. They also made a commitment to making someone other than Durant and Westbrook beat them, and no one came close.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul is officially ALL the way back. And really, it’s amazing the way he seemingly took a giant step each game. First his legs came back, then he began to trust his shot, and tonight he put it all together in his season’s most dominating performance. If so-called “hockey-passes” (a secondary pass that leads to a score) were counted in basketball, Paul would have had 25 assists tonight.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: Three-Point Shooting. Over the last two games, the Clippers have made 27 shots from three-point range and have done so at a hair under 50% (13-25 tonight, 14-30 last night @ DEN). From a team chemistry standpoint, you love to see this. If the Clippers can continue to notch long balls at a realistically efficient rate, lineups including Paul, Billups, Williams, and Butler with Reggie Evans as the big seem a lot more feasible. But it really would be a shame if a lethal three-point game deprived Clipper Nation of more entertainment from the invisible twins, Solomon Jones and Ryan Gomes.
3. Who was tonight’s MVP?
Charlie Widdoes, ClipperBlog: As will be the case in nearly every win this year, Chris Paul. In his best game as a Clipper against the best team in the league, he scored 26 points on only 16 shots, with 14 assists to only two turnovers. Even his teammates’ highlights came as a result of his supreme control of the offense. He went under screens but kept the pressure on Westbrook, who had to put up 26 shots to get his 31 points and committed six turnovers.
Jordan Heimer, ClipperBlog: I don’t want to be completely boring and use the same answer twice, so I’ll hedge and say The Three Guard Lineup. I was dubious about using a small ball approach against a team that features Kevin Durant, the league’s longest small forward, but going small instead produced easy basket after easy basket. For once, the Clippers didn’t suffer any protracted offensive doldrums – a lot of credit for that goes to the fact that there was always a point guard looking for an easy basket.
Michael Shagrin, ClipperBlog: Chris Paul. Back to usual form, CP3 scored an astoundingly efficient 26 points (12-16 FGs) to go along with 14 dimes. But more important than that, it was Paul who acted as the last man between OKC and a full momentum swing at the end of the second quarter and middle of the fourth. Paul’s ability to reliably create his own high-percentage shots opens up easy passing lanes which he easily threads. For me, the most enjoyable aspect of this season so far has been identifying the moment the opposing team’s best player realizes that any last comeback effort will be cut down by Chris Paul.