MVP: Dirk Nowitzki. 37 years old. 31 points. 11 rebounds. Since 1985, only 5 other players have put up at least 31 and 11 at the age of 37: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dominique Wilkins, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and Tim Duncan. None of those legends had a shot chart that looked like this:
That was … Cuban’s vindication: 13 nights ago, the Clippers hosted the Mavericks, and salty owner Mark Cuban had to fall back on his “The Clippers are who they have been for the past 30 years” postulate as the Clippers handed Dallas a sound beatdown. However, that evening’s ClipperBlog Live warned that the Mavericks would be ready for that exact change in Texas. Verily, verily it came to pass. The Clippers have lost 2 straight games in Dallas while allowing an average of 123.5 points per game.
X factor: Brandon Tomyoy was quick to point out that Deron Williams (who missed the October loss at STAPLES Center) is quite successful when matched up head-to-head with the PG he was drafted over in 2005, Chris Paul. Alas, that too came to pass, as Williams (13 points, 6 assists) moved to 17-5 against Paul (11 points, 11 assists, 2/11 FGs). This time, Williams got help from the 5th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Raymond Felton (13 points).
— Law Murray
Tweet(s) Of The Game
— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) November 12, 2015
Austin Rivers has played really well tonight.
— Seth Partnow (@SethPartnow) November 12, 2015
Hey @LAClippers! Good game! Have a safe trip home! ✈️🚀🚗🚲⛵️🚤🍌
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) November 12, 2015
Check Your Messages
As a fellow member of #TeamLightSkin it pains me to have to say that you’d
be forgiven for mistaking Dallas’ sophomore power forward shared more than
a passing resemblance to international rap star Aubrey Drake Graham. They even
hail from the same frozen northern wilderness (Canada is 90% ice – this is science,
don’t argue). And like his maple leaf-loving compatriot, Dwight Powell is sneakily
making his way into the game, and preparing to make his mark on the league.
He was drafted by Boston, but was one of the six dozen or so trades they’d
made by the end of the 2014-15 season. He ended up on the Mavericks, where he
averaged 3.4 points a game in 9.5 mpg. Tonight, Powell drew the Sisyphean task
of marking Blake Griffin on defense, replacing a horrifyingly outmatched Zaza Pachulia
and never defensively-inclined Dirk Nowitzki for spells during the game.
He acquitted himself as well as anyone could reasonably expect, exhibiting a valiant
effort against one of the most unstoppable players in the entire NBA. On the other
end, in 16 minutes he scored 8 points, hitting all but one of his shots, and corralling 6 rebounds
while collecting 4 personal fouls against the bigger, stronger, scarier
Griffin. The young man showed a certain amount of poise in a rough situation; there are
many more experienced players in the league who haven’t managed as much against
the Flying Lion. Certainly, he served up an appetizing glimpse of the potential he has
and we look forward to seeing the next course.
– Aaron Williams
No, not defensive. Roster rotations. This Clippers team was pretty obviously built to compete with the flexible Warriors. Pierce, Smith, Stephenson, and Johnson were all brought in to play two to three positions. And Doc’s been using the new guys in just the way you’d expect.
But tonight was a nice reminder that sometimes positionless basketball only works one way. It wasn’t so bad in the first half, but once Redick went out and Crawford was forced into defensive duties, it became pretty clear that the Clippers couldn’t defend the Mavs at all. Matthews and Williams went right at Crawford or Paul in the post. When DJ was pulled and replaced with Pierce, Pachulia became Andre Drummond with better shooting. Griffin had to stay with Dirk on the three-point line, so the team had no rim protection at all. The knock on effect was more than a bit dispiriting.
But perhaps this could have gone differently. Stephenson or even Johnson could have defended Matthews or Williams. Smith could have done a better job on Pachulia, and at least threatened to block some shots. Pierce is theoretically better on offense than those guys, but practically it’s been a dead (emphasis on dead) heat.
The rotation will settle down at some point. But playing small or positionless isn’t as easy as the Warriors make it look.
– J.D. Evans
Paris of Troy
I was going to write this entirely in emoji, but I got about halfway in and realized that all I had was 44 fires, 28 garbage cans, and one JPEG of a rocket. So instead I’ll try to put this in real words: J.J. Redick is very, very important to this Clipper team, and not just because of those excellent Redick-Griffin dribble handoffs. When he left the game, the Clippers’ spacing immediately cramped up, even when they went “small,” and they couldn’t find any breathing room for the offense.
But even more importantly, without J.J. Redick the Clippers had no answer for Wes Matthews. Lance worked hard in the first quarter but he wasn’t particularly effective, and he didn’t see a minute of meaningful action in the second half. Without Redick on the floor the Clippers didn’t have a real two-way option who could chase Matthews around screens, hold up in the post, and keep the Mavs honest on the other end. And so in the second half, Wes Matthews turned into Paris of Troy, slaying the legend of the Achilles and stealing your girl along the way.
If J.J. misses any real time these Clippers are in trouble. Oh, and while we’re talking about 3s and D, where is C.J. Wilcox?
– Ben Mesirow