Los Angeles Clippers
New York Knicks
MVP: The Clippers’ bench. On a night when Chris Paul left midway through the third quarter with a right hamstring injury and Blake Griffin struggled offensively, L.A.s second unit stepped up (34 points) and helped extend the fourth-quarter lead.
X-factor: After shooting 13 of 25 (52 percent) and carrying the Knicks’ offense in the first half, Carmelo Anthony (2 of 8) and Andrea Bargnani (2 of 8) cooled off considerably in the final 24 minutes. As a result, the Knicks scored just 35 second-half points.
That was… what we expected: The Knicks hung around until the final frame, but the Clippers’ dynamic offense ultimately prevailed and turned a close game into a double-digit victory. That makes seven straight losses for New York now.
– Jovan Buha
Tweet(s) of the Night
The Clippers are the most play-down-to-the-competition team in the NBA
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) November 28, 2013
Reporter asks Metta about NYK struggles. MWP says "We're not struggling. And you're having a bad hair day. I see that one hair sticking up."
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 28, 2013
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||8||1-1||0-0||2-2||0||2||2||0||0||0||2||0||+10||4|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||16||3-8||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||1||3||+25||6|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
On tonight’s show, Andrew and Fred discuss the Widdoes Bowl … minus Charlie Widdoes. Also, Andrew has a #hotsportstake on Jamal Crawford’s surprising defense.
Check Your Messages
No One’s On a Roll
The Clippers came out with a win against the Knicks on Wednesday, but it was hardly because of their pick-and-roll defense. DeAndre Jordan has been stronger and more aware defensively this season, but he seemed to overhedge early in the game. Hedging hard on the pick-and-roll against the Knicks actually makes sense. Their bigs aren’t particularly athletic (sorry, Amar’e) and they can hurt you by popping more than rolling and finishing at the rim. That said, Jordan and Blake Griffin seemed to hedge a bit too hard and Griffin specifically wasn’t particularly effective recovering. That defense didn’t hurt the Clippers enough to give them a loss Wednesday but against a better pick-and-roll team with more athletic and quicker roll men, the Clips could be in trouble if they defend the way they did against the Knicks.
– Fred Katz
Anthony Can’t Carry Knicks
On Wednesday night, the Knicks’ bench was atrocious. They opened the game converting just 1-for-10 from the field for a total of two points. New York was able to hang close, only trailing 49-45 at the half, because Carmelo Anthony and Andrea Bargnani kept them afloat. The duo combined for 35 points (13-26 FGs) in the half, making up nearly 78 percent of their team’s total scoring output.
Anthony didn’t convert another field goal until the 7:25 mark of the final period; for Bargnani, the 6:18 mark. Although Jared Dudley turned in a forgettable shooting performance, he bounced back defensively after Anthony lit him up in the first half. Reggie Bullock also contributed some solid defensive minutes, frustrating Anthony, who got much fewer touches after the intermission. Whether one chalks it up to improved Clipper defense or Knicks’ dysfunction, 38.6 percent-shooting won’t beat the Clippers at Staples Center.
Melo leads the league with 22.2 field goals attempts and 40.2 minutes per game. He totaled 23 and 41, respectively, tonight, but the performance resulted in yet another NY loss.
Knicks bench totals: 76 minutes, 13 points, 24% shooting, 8 turnovers, 13 fouls.
Clippers bench totals: 84 minutes, 34 points, 43% shooting, 6 turnovers, 7 fouls.
– Aaron Fischman
Finding Their Footing
There are several key differences between last season’s Clippers team and this season’s squad, but the starkest difference through 16 games has been Los Angeles’ depth, or lack thereof.
Last season, the Clippers would trot out four above-average defenders — Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf — who could turn a game upside down with their frenetic pace and stringent half-court D. Each member of “A Tribe Called Bench” had a clearly defined role, which allowed them to outplay most other bench units, and even some starting units, too.
This season’s bench has yet to form an identity on either end of the floor, to no fault of Doc Rivers. They’ve played below-average at best, and atrociously at worst. But for the second straight game Wednesday night — albeit against struggling and depleted Eastern Conference opponents — the second unit stepped up and actually maintained (and extended) the starters’ lead in the fourth quarter.
To be clear, the Clippers’ don’t need their bench to be world-beaters this season. If anything, they probably relied too heavily on their bench last season, and not enough on their ridiculously talented starting group. All L.A. needs is for their bench to play average ball and maintain the starters’ leads. If they can do that, as they have the past two games, the Clippers’ margin of error will increase just a tad.
– Jovan Buha
After tonight’s game, the Clippers’ defensive rating jumped from 22nd to 16th.
– Jovan Buha