Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Chris Paul led the way with a quiet near-triple-double (22 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists). Paul’s game didn’t make you jump out of your seat but he was steady; a steadiness that propelled the Clippers to victory.
Defining moment: With 2:56 to go in the game, the Celtics cut the Clippers’ lead to 85-83. The Clippers quickly responded with two huge threes from Jamal Crawford and the game was in hand.
That was … emotional. Doc Rivers returned to Boston for the first time since his departure this offseason. Between the in-game video tribute and a postgame presser where he stated unequivocally, “the best decision I ever made was ten years ago when I decided to come [to Boston],” there was hardly a dry eye in the house; certainly not in the media room.
– Brian Robb
Tweet(s) of the Night
I guess Rondo wasn’t feeling as affectionate as Doc. pic.twitter.com/1a9wmyRBri
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) December 12, 2013
Defensive Rating Update
The Clippers’ defensive rating went from 101.0 (ninth) to 100.5 (still ninth) after tonight’s win against the Celtics.
The Depth Charge
|Byron Mullens, C||DNP COACH’S DECISION|
|Ryan Hollins, C||3||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|Antawn Jamison, PF||9||1-2||1-2||0-2||1||0||1||0||0||1||2||0||+2||3|
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
Andrew nicknames Stephen Jackson “Mr. Stack Jack Jackson Stephen Jackson” and Seerat and Fred counter with a conversation about Gossip Girl. Watch at your own risk.
Check Your Messages
Dudley’s Spacial Awareness
The game clock shows just over two minutes left in regulation and the Clippers lead by five. Trying to put the game away, they get out on the break and the ball falls into the hands of Jared Dudley, who is wide open on the baseline about 14 feet away from the rim. It looks like a good shot for Dudley, who is a right-side dominant player, but instead of putting up a jumper from a zone in which he has shot about 34 percent over the past two seasons, he gives it up to an even more open Jamal Crawford, who is right above the break on the right side, an area in which he’s shot about 42 percent over the past two seasons. Crawford spots up and swishes in a three to put the Clippers up eight. Spacial awareness, it’s a real thing – and it’s how the Clippers clinched a win in Boston on Wednesday night.
– Fred Katz
One Player’s Worth
Including tonight, J.J. Redick has missed six games for the Clippers. So how has the adjustment been?
When Redick played, the team sported a 107.9 offensive rating and 102.6 defensive rating through 17 games. In the six games he’s missed, the Clippers have dropped to 98.2 on offense and 94.5 on defense.
The improvements in defense is understandable; Los Angeles has luckily been playing the offensive dregs of the league as of late. But the 10 point dip in offensive rating is alarming. Typically, when a player goes down, the rest of the roster fills that hole to the best of its ability. They may not be able to account for all the production lost, but its absence is somewhat mitigated.
In the case of the Clippers, be it continuing injuries or otherwise, there’s been almost nothing to fill the void.
– Andrew Han
Mr. Stevens, Calculus Teacher
The Clippers average 105.1 points per 100 possessions, good for fifth in the NBA. Brad Stevens looks at this delicate arithmetic and laughs. The Celtics held L.A. to 96 points on 94 possessions. Boston limited the Clippers to 44.7 percent shooting and 17 three-point attempts, often conceding mid-range jump shots in lieu of higher percentage activity around the rim or in the corners. On several occasions, the Celtics were clearly prepared for L.A.’s favored offensive sets, and Boston’s quick, aggressive guards often worked in tandem to disrupt the Clippers’ offense before it even got started. In all, it was an inspired effort by an undermanned squad with an unusually sharp rookie coach. It almost cost the Clippers.
– Luke Laubhan
What a Dudley
At the beginning of the year, Jared Dudley had the luxury of being judicious with his shot attempts and rarely took a bad shot. And why not? Within the Clippers offense, he was often a forgotten option for opposing defenses. However, without J.J. Redick and by way of sheer need, Dudley’s shot attempts have jumped from 6.9 to 9.4.
Unfortunately, production has not steadily increased with greater responsibilities. Dudley has been more active with the ball in his hands, but the results are not quite there yet. After shooting 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from three in November, Dudley is now shot 38 percent and 22 percent, respectively, through six games in December. In order for the Clippers motion offense to look a lot better, the Clippers are hoping that Redick get better soon, and Dudley too.
– Davis Vo
The Crawford Conundrum
Jamal Crawford is easy to love. He’s a Globetrotter that made to the big leagues, making opposing professionals look just as silly as a commoner on the blacktop. Just a real joy to watch.
In this wing-less late autumn climate, Crawford’s been given the greenlight. He’s averaging slightly more than 18 points since Matt Barnes was injured (please ask me about the the complicated process of fixing a retina), which is 2.5 points more than the 15.6 he’s averaging on the season.
But it comes at a cost. He’s shooting 40 percent on 16 shots per game since Barnes went out, while going to 43 percent on 13 shots per game for the season.
His efficiency is down and that’s not awesome. Even so, the real liability is his defense come the postseason. But the West is so frightening this year that a casual approach to the regular season would be a mistake and Jamal carries a heavy offensive load for the bench in these times. Plus, how can you not like a guy who ices a game from 30 feet?
– Michael Shagrin
Less Flashy Green Helps Beat the Green
Tuesday, Willie Green helped spark the road team after the intermission, scoring all eight of his points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter. His two long-distance connections were particularly invaluable, as the team’s three-point stroke has suffered miserably this road trip (26.7 percent, to be exact).
While Redick, Bullock and Barnes are sidelined and Dudley plays through knee tendinitis – Dudley has made just 4-of-22 from three this road trip – the Clippers will count on Green to provide touch from the perimeter. While his outside shot has also struggled early on, now that he’s getting greater playing time, the Clippers hope he can approach 43 percent, where he’s been for the last two full seasons. Heck, they’d even take 35 percent. That said, tonight, the Clippers were wise to launch far fewer long-range shots and impose their will in the paint. For greater context, the Clippers ranked sixth in three-pointers attempted coming into the night and had just tried 35 and 27 in their last two games, respectively. Tonight, they only took 17.
– Aaron Fischman
Living With Jamal
Jamal Crawford buoyed the Clippers’ late game attack when he nailed two threes with two minutes left in the game. With J.J. Redick and the Clippers’ hodgepodge of perimeter defenders sidelined, they’ve been reliant on Crawford’s scoring to an extreme. A healthy Clippers rotation makes Crawford the perfect weapon for a contender: a potentially lethal scoring option waiting on the bench to be unleashed. More importantly, inserting someone else into the lineup can neutralize his turbulent performances. Right now, the Clippers don’t have that luxury and they’re susceptible to the inconsistency tied to Jamal’s game.
– Seerat Sohi