Where are you, J.J. Redick? Where did you go?
The Clippers could really use you right about now.
For now, LA is on a run. Seven consecutive victories makes for the longest winning streak of the Clippers’ season as the team welcomes in the Eric Bledsoe-less Phoenix Suns on Monday night. But even after seven straight, there’s still some sort of prevailing logic which says this squad needs the Dukie.
Injuries have been all too common a theme for this year’s Clippers. Redick, Chris Paul, Reggie Bullock, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley, Redick again. All the wings are going down, and when you don’t have wings, how the heck are you supposed to fly?
The Clippers rank just 22nd in the NBA in three-point shooting. Redick’s 40 percent from long range would help. But he’s not here. He’s gone. And apparently, people are worried.
How concerned should we be about Redick’s status? There seems to be very little info – never a good sign.
Let’s try to remember that it’s not always the Clippers’ style to release loads of injury information. Chauncey Billups was day-to-day all of last year. And when he came back, no one even knew he was making a return until right before the game. So it could be a bad sign. It could be a good one. It could mean nothing. We just don’t know.
How is J.J. Redick’s health?
Wait, this isn’t just one guy going crazy about Redick? There’s another? Nah, I bet he’s still fine, though.
How worried should we be about J.J.’s health?
You’re are all way too dramatic. It’s going to be fine. It’s just a bulging disk. It’s just a bulging disk. It’s just a bulging disk.
(Sorry, sometimes if I repeat things over and over again, it makes them easier to believe.)
It’s just a bulging disk, though.
What is the Clippers’ realistic ceiling this postseason if J.J. Redick doesn’t come back? I think no chance for the Finals without J.J.
OK, fine, I’m freaking out. Are you all happy now? You see what you’ve done?
This is probably true. It’s going to be ultra hard for the Clippers to make a postseason run without their best shooter and third-most important offensive player. The Clippers’ offense becomes so much more complex with Redick in the lineup. There are plays they can run which they
can’t won’t without him. The West is just too good. Eventually, someone is probably going to figure out a simpler offense. That is, unless Blake Griffin and Chris Paul bring their A+ games to the postseason.
Houston, Portland and Golden State. Rank those teams in order of who you don’t want to play in the playoffs.
First of all, I think this is the bossiest ClipperBag question we’ve ever received. And secondly, number one has to be Portland, right?
All those teams are strong. The entire Western Conference is a massive wrecking ball. Whoever the ninth-best team in the West is would pretty easily be the No. 3 team in the East. So this answer isn’t easy.
The list would probably follow with Houston, whom the Clippers are 3-0 against, and then Golden State, a rival, defensive-heavy team with a major home-court advantage and wonderful shooters when they’re on their games. But again, No. 1 has got to be Portland.
The Blazers are a strange team to evaluate right now. For all the talk of their one-sided basketball, that they can’t play defense and that their entire win total is based purely on perimeter shooting, things have changed. Portland actually leads the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions since the All-Star break. For all intents and purposes, this has been one of the best defensive teams in the league over the past three weeks. Is it a hot stretch and is the larger sample size going to prevail? Or am I going to be sitting here, scratching my slightly oversized head as I wonder how the heck Portland became the top defensive team heading into the postseason?
Ultimately, though, there are reasons to expect some sort of regression from the Blazers as the season comes to a close. They’re so reliant on the mid-range jumper, which makes sense given their personnel (see: LaMarcus Aldridge). They’ve been taking contested jumper after contested jumper. And at some point, those shots stop to fall.
The “You can’t win as a jumpshot-heavy team” theory isn’t really true anymore. The Dallas Mavericks won it all in 2011 with an offense based around shooting, pick-and-roll basketball and Dirk Nowitzki domination. So it can happen. But Dallas got good looks with that offense. Rick Carlisle (still maybe the most underrated coach in the NBA) crafted a free-flowing, effective offensive scheme. And while Terry Stotts, a former Carlisle assistant in Dallas, has proven to be one of the better coaches in the league, this isn’t the 2011 Mavericks. There are just too many contested jumpers and inefficient shots.
And let’s face it. At the risk of sounding like a chest-bumping homer, wouldn’t it be kind of nice to see Blake Griffin face off against Aldridge, outplay him for each game of the series and never again have to hear that L.A. is the best power forward in the NBA? So yes, the first choice has to be Portland.
How many bears were killed in the making of Andrew Han’s Russian fur cap?
If Andrew weren’t the most mysterious person I knew, I might have a better idea of how to answer this question. But I don’t know. No one knows. No one can know. No one will ever know. Because Andrew Han, that man works in unparalleled ways.
But seriously, can we leave Andrew out of the conversation from now on? He’s my boss and writing any of this probably won’t go well for me on our next GChat.
Why does Andrew Han wear the most random hats? LAC is waiting for the chikita banana hat.
Ugh, this is going to be a terrible GChat session. But I don’t care. You’ve baited me.
Hey, Andrew. What’s up with the hats? What are you hiding under there?
I’m rooting for the Clippers vs. Grizzlies in the first round. LAC should win this year, right? Am I just a masochist?
Do you also enjoy electrocuting yourself via nipple clamps? Are you into getting punched in the face six times in a row? How about verbal abuse? Is that your thing?
Yes, you’re a masochist. Even if the Clippers were to win that series, it would take years off the life expectancy of every Clipper fan. This rivalry is almost starting to remind me of a tamer version of Yankees-Red Sox circa 2003-04. The Grizzlies and Clippers have played each other more times over the past two-plus years than any other pair of teams in the NBA. They know each other so well. There are team rivalries, personal rivalries and fan rivalries. There’s a Zach Randolph choking Blake Griffin to match every Pedro Martinez throwing Don Zimmer to the ground. One team could sweep the other, and the fans and players on either side would still come away exhausted. That series is too physical, too mentally disabling to desire a third one.
But we know that somehow, this is going to happen, right? It always does.
How can you explain the Hollinger Power Rankings and what do they mean for the playoffs?
For those who don’t know, the Hollinger Power Rankings essentially take a bunch of numbers, crunch them all together and then use the results to figure out exactly how to rank each team in the NBA. Thus, power rankings.
Right now, the Clippers sit at No. 1 on that list. The current seven-game winning streak helps, considering Hollinger’s formula places a particular importance on recency. So does LA’s NBA-leading +7.1 point differential. And what’s it mean heading into the postseason? It means that a phenomenally intelligent mind created a formula which says the Clippers are the top team in the league right now. But it’s hard to say there’s any sort of deeper substance there, especially considering that the Clippers are far from full health at the moment.
Where is @fosterdj?
D.J. had to take some time off so he could set up the Anthony Tolliver Fan Club. And if you don’t know that D.J. irrationally loves Anthony Tolliver, you’ve missed out on a lot in life.
How big of a role do you see Danny Granger playing in the Clippers’ postseason run?
Oh, the bench. This was supposed to be the weak spot of the team, but is it possible that it’s now somewhat of a strength (*when everyone is healthy)?
Big Baby Davis looks like he’s going to be a serviceable third big who can, in a worst-case scenario, sing and dance far more emphatically than Ryan Hollins ever could. And against what popular opinion may say, it’s still supremely possible that Granger becomes a major contributor for this team. But a contributor. Not a star. Not even a starter getting big-time minutes. Just a contributor.
One of the reasons Granger’s numbers plummeted so aggressively this past season in Indiana is that he’s essentially lost the ability to create his own shot. He’s a step slower. He’s not going to score off the dribble for this team. But in the end, does he have to?
If he gets minutes with the starters, Granger will share the floor with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Those guys are going to handle the ball. They’re two of the best passers at their respective positions in the league. So all the newest Clipper has to do is find space in the defense and spot-up shoot, a skill he still has in his arsenal.
With the reserves, it’s going to be a similar story. Do we really think Jamal Crawford or Darren Collison are giving up dribbles to Granger? His job is going to be simple, almost Dudley-like. In that role, the 36 percent field-goal percentage from Indi probably won’t carry over, and it’d probably be safe to bet that the career-high 42 percent three-point rate will either maintain or increase while playing the part of off-ball, spot-up shooter.