Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
MVP: Chris Paul. Nobody’s been better this season. After logging nine assists in the game’s first 10 minutes, Paul never slowed down, finishing with 23 points, 17 assists, and some of the shiftiest dribbling you’ll ever see on a basketball court.
That was … spectacular: In the first half, the Clippers tied a franchise record with 78 points, and despite first quarter foul trouble to Dwight Howard and James Harden, Houston wasn’t far behind with 66 of their own. The game was up and down with high-arcing threes, filthy dunks, and a few dozen defensive miscues. Fun stuff for everyone who isn’t a coach.
Defining moment. After picking up two fouls in the game’s first six minutes, Dwight Howard was whistled for his third with 1:23 left in the quarter. Without their anchor in the middle, Houston struggled from that point on.
— Michael Pina
Tweet(s) of the Game
D12 gets booed hard from Clips fans, who are apparently still seething over those "Stay" billboards infringing on Despicable Me 2's ad space
— Justin Verrier (@JustinVerrier) November 5, 2013
Clippers: 42 pts in 27 possessions. By the end of the night, their league-leading offense should be 6 whole points ahead of 2nd-ranked Off.
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) November 5, 2013
Nobody pours it on like the Clips pour it on. They have decadent blowouts.
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) November 5, 2013
Congratulations to CP3 and Doc Rivers, that was impressive
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) November 5, 2013
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||15||5-6||2-3||0-0||0||4||4||0||2||1||1||5||-3||12|
|Ryan Hollins, C||5||1-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-2||2|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Do the Clippers even need to play defense? Andrew uses the word “floppy,” but he’s not talking about Chandler Parsons’ or J.J. Redick’s hair. Also, a lot of Byron Mullens talk.
Check Your Messages
DeAndre Jordan’s Woes In The Post
DeAndre Jordan’s struggles on the defensive end have been well-documented. The focus is almost entirely on his help defense and how he defends within the team scheme. His late rotations, his biting on pump-fakes, the inconsistent ways in which he defends the pick-and-roll. Doc Rivers can help improve all of these things.
When it comes to individual, one-on-one defense, a coach can’t do as much. That’s why how Jordan defended in the post tonight is a bit worrisome. He was absolutely destroyed by Dwight Howard. Howard got deep position whenever he wanted and did whatever he wanted to once he got the ball. The Clippers caught a largely disengaged Rockets team tonight, but that likely won’t be the case if they meet in the playoffs. The matchup could be trouble if Howard is able to score at will, draw doubles and put Jordan in foul trouble.
– Jacob Frankel
When Western Powers Meet
Game in and game out, the Clippers are seeing their opponents’ best. With Houston coming in as one of only two undefeated teams around the league (Indiana, the other), L.A. had a message to send. The players will give the politically correct answer and say, “We want to win no matter whom we’re playing (because the typical pro athlete can differentiate proper use of who and whom),” but you know this had to mean something a little extra for most of the Clippers. Many analysts had the Rockets pegged as an elite team out West, and they very well may be. Even so, two of the Clippers’ first three victories have come against exceedingly dangerous Western Conference teams: the Warriors and now the Rockets.
If there are any caveats, the Warriors lost to the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back, while Houston played for the third time in four nights and Howard committed three fouls in the first quarter, only logging a total of 26 minutes. Then again, the schedule will balance out by season’s end, plus Houston will get its chance at revenge this Saturday night. If Jordan and Howard can stay out of foul trouble, and that may be a pretty big if, maybe we can see them battle down low. That didn’t happen nearly enough Monday night.
– Aaron Fischman
Bust Out the Roman Candles
In a game that featured 1,000 pounds and $56-million worth of starting frontcourt star power, the big men, All-NBA and otherwise, figured to take center stage. Instead, this game against the Rockets evolved into a fast-paced jump-shooting and 3-point contest. In lieu of Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard, guys like J.J. Redick (26 points, 8-of-15 from the floor) and Omri Casspi (19 points, 3-of-6 from 3) stepped to the fore. To underscore the free-fire spirit of the game, Jamal Crawford (21 points, 6-of-11 from 3) took over 15th place on the all-time 3-point shooting list. Let’s just say, it was fun tonight, so long as you’re a Clipper fan.
More gaudy statistics: six different Clippers hit a 3-point shot (including Byron Mullens, who took to this style of play like an eight-year-old takes to a bag of fireworks); at 137, LA scored the most points it’s scored since an overtime game in 2009; Lawler’s Law fell into effect with one minute left in the third quarter; and, remarkably, James Harden scored only 15 points with 0-for-7 3-point shooting. I suppose some might be concerned about the Clippers allowing 118 points and 50 percent from the field, and rightfully so, but then again, sometimes the basketball gods give us a game that’s just too much fun to worry too much. As it turned out, this one was more revelry than wrestling match. Fine by me.
– Luke Laubhan
J.J. Redick: Off The Spot
When you evaluate shooters, there’s a tendency to ignore everything else except for the percentages. Shooting is a results-based business, after all, so this makes sense.
There’s something soulless about that though, isn’t there? It removes the craftsmanship of shooting, the art of it all. This wasn’t Willie Green, Chauncey Billups or Caron Butler just camping out on the perimeter, sitting in a spot, treating the arc like a factory worker treats a conveyor belt.
This was different. This was Redick running one of the best players in the league right the hell out of the building before the first quarter even ended. This was Redick flying off screens, curling in for little mid-range jumpers, keeping that beautiful form consistent no matter where he was on the floor.
Eight minutes in, Kevin McHale mercifully switched Harden off Redick, but the damage was done, and the message was sent: Your star player can’t guard anyone on the floor right now, and we’ve only just begun.
– D.J. Foster
Dime and Space
A game of basketball is a constant struggle for time and space. There’s a reason why Tom Thibodeau’s famous defensive schemes aim to shrink the floor and why Avery Bradley’s full-court ball-hawking is so deadly. Conversely, offenses are constantly implement strategies to maximize time and space. It was something (or rather, someone) Dwight Howard once longed for when he was a Laker, and Chris Paul now gets to utilize on a daily basis. For both of these superstars, J.J. Redick acts as a synergistic piece for their success.
Tonight, J.J. Redick had his best night as a Clipper (26 points off of 15 field goal attempts) and Chris Paul dished out 17 assists. We saw Redick’s ability to command space through his shooting prowess by directing attention to himself or the rest of his teammates. This opened up driving lanes and/or created high-percentage jump shots. Redick was also incredibly efficient and decisive with his use of time — constantly making masterful reads off the dribble and never holding the ball for too long.
Redick’s offensive game complements Paul’s like few other shooting guards in the league because he offers the luxury of time and space. Against the Rockets, it felt like the Clippers had a monopoly of time and space. The result? The Clippers had their best offensive game (137 points, 33 assists) this season.
– Davis Vo
Messing With The Lineups
What are the chances we see a shakeup in the bench rotation? 137 points is great. But 118 allowed isn’t and the bench defense had plenty to do with that.
Isn’t there a decent chance we see Doc Rivers get creative with a bench lineup sooner rather than later? It might happen in a blowout. It might happen against a bottom feeder. But it’s probably going to happen soon.
Antawn Jamison isn’t going to help the Clippers defensively, but maybe, just maybe, Reggie Bullock can. Maybe we’ll get to see some shifting in the near future. Maybe we’ll get to see a bench lineup that has Darren Collison sticking in his seat with Jamal Crawford playing the 1 and Reggie Bullock playing the 2. Maybe that’s a lineup worth trying. Crawford has played the point before. Bullock says he’s more comfortable as a shooting guard than as a small forward.
That might be a duo the Clippers could play for a few minutes a game against certain types of lineups, but we won’t know for sure until they actually try it out.
– Fred Katz
Clippers Know The Score, As Do Their Foes
When the halftime horn blew, the Clippers’ top-ranked offense had dropped 78 points on 56 possessions and each team had logged a 40-point quarter. Chris Paul, J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin got whatever they wanted — no surprise — but so did Omri Casspi, Chandler Parsons and Greg Smith.
It was a night when Lawler’s Law was merely an injunction, as the Clippers crossed the 100 mark with 1:21 to go in the third quarter. By midway through the fourth quarter, Rockets coach Kevin McHale had that fatalistic look of defeat (a face nobody wore better than McHale’s fellow Golden Gopher, the late Bill Musselman).
For the Clippers, this world of red, white and blue basketballs cuts two ways. On the offensive side of the ledger, things couldn’t be better. Four games in, the Clippers are averaging a gaudy 116.6 points per 100 possessions. For a frame of reference, Houston ranks second at 109.9 — a full 6.7 points per 100 possessions behind the Clips.
“I think we can score,” Rivers said. “The floor is spaced, and when you have athletes like Blake [Griffin] and [DeAndre Jordan] rolling after they set picks, that creates an action unto itself.”
Thats a good approximation of what the Clippers are doing on the floor. The high scores might suggest a full-on, open-court improv show — and they rank fifth in pace factor — but the Clippers are finding a slew of open looks within the framework of their set offense.
– Kevin Arnovitz, on the Daily Dime