Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs. Houston Rockets (1)
6:30 p.m. PST
May 12, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket/ TNT
Video of the Day
It’s Game 5. Are you PUMPED?!
1. What can the Rockets do to win Game 5 and get themselves back in this series?
Andy Liu, (@AndyKHLiu): Get Patrick Beverley healthy to shore up that defense and Donatas Motiejunas to magically heal up his back to provide low-post offense that Terrence Jones cannot right now. Wait…yeah, there’s nothing left.
Seth Partnow, (@SethPartnow): Show up. Aside from about 18 minutes in the second half of game 2, Houston has varied between disinterested and distracted. Maybe the Clippers are just that much better, but one would expect a team to compete a bit more.
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): They need to stop intentionally fouling, which is killing their rhythm on both sides of the floor. The problem is they’re treating that strategy like their last line of defense — as though they’ve already conceded defeat, but they keep fouling to prolong each game, so long that it feels like they’re making a deeper playoff run.
2. Does Hack-a-Whomever require a fix and if so, what should that fix be?
Liu: I don’t care either way. I tend to check Twitter when these things happen to watch the fire catch wind and wood and create an absolute lava pit. If my job depended on this, then perhaps, but for a neutral observer, I don’t mind the ridiculousity of this. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is beyond stupid.
Partnow: The best fix is for coaches to realize it’s almost always bad strategy. Doc Rivers seems to have sussed out the only way the tactic can be consistently effective is if the hacked player is benched, and he’s left DJ on to take his lumps at the line while gaining revenge on the defensive end. Sure, Game Four was unsightly, but it was as much because of the evident futility and desperation from Kevin McHale as anything else.
James: I’ve never understood why intentional fouls away from the ball are acceptable in the first place, so I say fix it. I do get a kick out of all these missed free throws in an absurdity-of-the-human-condition way, but watchable basketball would surely be better. Tom Ziller’s ideas sound decent to me.
3. True or False: The Clippers bench has finally arrived.
Liu: False. The Houston Rockets defense is awful. Spencer Hawes has spread the floor with some good work offensively and Austin Rivers has made real life strides to a real life NBA player. Those might get stymied against a real defense like the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. But for now? They’re awesome and Doc Rivers the GM can tell us all how we should never blog again.
Partnow: A flip side to Houston’s lackluster showing is its hard to know just how seriously to take Austin Rivers’ recent success. Will the same herky-jerky drives and knuckleball J’s work against either Golden State or Memphis? Consider me a skeptic on that front.