Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: Gordon Hayward played a team high 40 minutes for the Jazz tonight, and he made the most of it, scoring a season-high 33 points to go with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. If there is one player to credit for the massive fourth quarter run that put the Jazz lead into double digits, it would be him.
That was … the combo breaker: The Clippers had won 13 in a row against the Jazz, with many of those wins close or as a result of furious comebacks from large deficits. Such a comeback was not in the cards for the Clippers on this evening, as the Jazz were finally able to break the longest active winning streak between two NBA teams.
X factor: The Clippers wings as a collective had their worst night of the season, combining to make only 3 of their 23 shots. It was enough to nullify the spectacular nights from Chris Paul (24 points, 10-15 FG, 8 assists) and Blake Griffin (40 points, 18-23 FG, 12 rebounds).
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
Stop what you're doing and watch Blake Griffin – point forward pic.twitter.com/bdyvCySVKz
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 26, 2015
Blake Griffin flat rejected Derrick Favors' slam attempt but Favors somehow still makes a shot https://t.co/LSEGhjsXFn
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) November 26, 2015
CP: "We’ve got to fix it. It’s just not right. It’s not fair to our fans. We’re better than this. We haven’t ever been like this.”
— Rowan Kavner (@RowanKavner) November 26, 2015
Check Your Messages
The Clippers had beaten the Jazz 13 straight times before tonight … 13 straight! Jazz SF Gordon Hayward was there for all 13 of those losses. His averages during the L streak weren’t bad (16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists), and he shot the three well (22/56, 39.3 percent), but overall, he made just 40.6 percent of his field goals.
Oh, but the Clippers made Hayward way too comfortable Wednesday night. He made half of his 22 field goals and finished with a team-high 33 points as he finally led his team to a win.
For the Clippers, it’s not that Hayward scored a lot. It’s how he got those buckets – especially late – that should have them concerned. Put simply, Hayward got way too comfortable.
Hayward had his most success in a 14-point 4th quarter. He made 4 field goals in the 4th – all of them against undersized L.A. defenders in Chris Paul (and-one), J.J. Redick (and-one), and Austin Rivers (x2). Hayward is 6’8″. Paul is 6’0″, and Redick and Rivers are both 6’4″.
It is at this time where we remind you that the Clippers’ 4th quarter defense is in the bottom-five in efficiency through 1 month of the season. A major reason for that is the league’s worst opposing free throw rate in the 4th. Hayward was quite comfy driving,, shooting, and overwhelming smaller defenders late Wednesday night. The Clippers coaching staff has to find a way to make things tougher on big wings in crunch time. 3-guard lineups late are just asking for trouble.
– Law Murray
Hey, guys. I get it. I really do. I promise I do. If I had DeAndre Jordan on my team I might not bother boxing out for rebounds either. There is a rather strong possibility that I too would rely on DJ’s seemingly inhuman ability to get to the loose balls, tempted to sit back and watch a master at work.
Here’s the thing, though: you can’t win basketball games that way. There is no way you can realistically expect Jordan to carry the load for the whole team. That strategy has led to situations like the one after the first quarter of tonight’s embarrassing rout, when the Utah Jazz doubled the Clippers’ rebound total, for crying out loud.
The same goes for the offense end as well. I think that for too long, the bench has simply relied on Jamal Crawford to simply go out and “get buckets”. It should be obvious to anyone watching that he isn’t going to do that anymore. Yet, you moved on to a new scapegoat; after Blake Griffin’s ascent in the Playoffs last season, it seems like he is truly unstoppable, that he can merely will the team to victory atop his mighty shoulders. But, at the end of the day, he is human, and humans need help. Someone has to step up at some point.
I could throw numbers at you all night, showing how the Clippers have been outscored in fourth quarters, how Crawford’s efficiency has dwindled to a trickle of points, mostly coming from the free throw line, but there’s only 2 numbers that even need to be addressed: 8 losses. 7 wins. If what you’re doing is only working half the time, it’s time to do something different.
– Aaron Williams
Going Through the Motions
After the telecast between the Golden State Warriors and the Lakers last night, TNT aired an interview with league MVP Stephen Curry in which he spoke about the summer he spent with Cam Newton during the Carolina Panthers training camp. The question was posed about the biggest takeaway from the experience to which Curry gave an interesting response. He noted that the Panthers took every game serious in implementing a meticulous game plan but made sure not to compromise having fun in the process.
Curry explained how Newton and the Panthers approach of enjoying every second on the field left a lasting impression on him. Having left with a new found sense of winning while having fun in the process, he brought that aura and spread the culture among his teammates. The Warriors not only play with a sense of cohesion and unification, but with a blatant display of adoration and love of being on the floor together.
Right now the Clippers have a roster that checks off the prerequisite boxes of a title contender. What they are sorely lacking to the naked eye is a true sense of motivation. Instead of the vigor and decisive energy they showed last season, through 15 games they have resorted to going through the motions. There were other indications of outright lack of effort: losing the battle of the boards… again. Haphazard turnovers. Gordon Hayward left unbothered to run practice drills. Zero bench support. On to the next.
– Kaveh Jam