Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: The starters may have returned in the second quarter to take an 11-point deficit down to one at the half, but it was all J.J. Redick in the third that turned tonight’s contest into a blowout. The nine-year vet scored 15 points in the quarter en route to a 31 point night with 6 threes — his highest single-game scoring output of the season.
That was … a dominant starting core: Many a mention has been made of how good and how effective the Clippers foursome of Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can be. Tonight, they showed it in spades. CP3 totaled 18 assists on the night to set his highest single-game assist total in his Clippers career. Blake Griffin would pull down 14 boards for his highest rebounding total of the season. And DeAndre? Well…
X factor: DeAndre Jordan only had two made baskets in the entire game, but they were undoubtedly two of the most exciting field goals by anyone in a Clippers uniform in tonight’s game. The dunk on Greg Monroe is fast on its way to internet stardom, and Giannis Antetokounmpo found a way into another DJ poster in the second half.
— Brandon Tomyoy
Tweet(s) Of The Game
SVP gives us the zoomed in look at DeAndre's throwdown nearly going through the hoop twice pic.twitter.com/sOP0JnjA8b
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 10, 2015
Full defensive possession that caused Josh Smith-Doc Rivers argument. pic.twitter.com/Zp4cztPfzu
— Andrew Han (@andrewthehan) December 10, 2015
Since the Clippers lost to the Warriors on Nov. 19, they've got a 98.0 DEF rating — 6th best in the NBA in that span.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 10, 2015
Check Your Messages
Small Sample Size Theater
Maybe Doc does read ClipperBlog.
For the first time since the beginning of the season, Coach Rivers introduced rotations that all include at least one of the Big Three. It worked. By staggering Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan with four-man bench units, it seems Doc Rivers has found the key to unlock this team’s full potential.
My personal favorite of these new, improved lineups saw an “all-defense” lineup of Rivers-Johnson-Mbah a Moute-Smith-Jordan at the end of the second half — the first time this group has played together. In the final minute of play, they absolutely shut down the Bucks’ offense, carrying a lead into halftime, and — at least in this writer’s mind — proving that this is the group that Doc should consider first to try and stifle the high-powered offenses the Clips are sure to see later in the season. At least it’s comforting to know that Doc Rivers is willing to take advantage of the many intriguing possibilities presented by the current roster.
– Aaron Williams
I Drop Dimes, Too
On a night that saw arguably the best passer in the league drop 18 dimes, it seems weird to talk about another player’s passing ability.
I don’t think weird is bad. So let’s discuss the passing repertoire of Blake Griffin, who had 4 of the Clippers’ 9 non-CP3 assists tonight.
As you may know already, Griffin is the only 6’10” player in the league averaging close to 5 assists a game. So by volume, this wasn’t even that spectacular a performance. It’s the variety of the assists.
The first basket of the game for the Clippers set the tone for the night: a give-and-go with SG J.J. Redick. Griffin gets a pass on the wing from Redick, holds it just long enough for Redick to drop below free throw line extended to the corner, then flips it back to Redick on the same side for a quick three. By the time Griffin got it to Redick, Griffin’s defender switched out to Redick, but Redick’s release was too quick for his shot to be contested.
Later in the 1st quarter, Griffin led a secondary break and threw a cross-court bounce pass to a streaking Wesley Johnson in the corner. Johnson swung the ball to a trailing Paul, who passed it back to Griffin. In one motion, Griffin flipped it back to Paul while serving as a screen for Paul, who used it for a drive to the basket.
In the 3rd quarter, Griffin took advantage of Jabari Parker’s foolish decision to leave Griffin to cover DeAndre Jordan at the top of the key. Griffin received a pass from Jordan that could have permitted Griffin to try and posterize Giannis Antetokounmpo. Instead, Griffin casually puts the ball between his legs, looks at a cutting Jamal Crawford to draw Khris Middleton off Redick, then hits Redick for another 3.
Finally, on another slow developing fastbreak, Griffin lobbed a touch pass over 2 Bucks defenders to find Johnson running to the basket. By time Johnson caught the pass, his momentum carried him into a reverse layup, which he made while drawing a foul.
Griffin’s unique combination of height, size, ballhandling, athleticism, and vision were on display in this one. His comfort in all areas of the floor allow him to make plays for just about every player in the Clippers rotation.
– Law Murray
Health is Wealth
It wasn’t but a week ago I noticed just how different the Clippers appeared without Chris Paul and JJ Redick. I’m aware it takes less than a rocket scientist to make that observation but the level of predictability within the Clipper offense was staggering. During that Indiana loss, the team was exposed for a sore lack of perimeter shooting and passing — not surprisingly when one of the better point guards and perimeter shooters in the game are both sidelined/injured.
Some quick stats from that game: 38% FG, 6-of-27 from three, 19 assists, 91 points. Just to be clear how badly the Clippers need a healthy and engaged Paul & Redick moving forward, here are the same team stats from tonight’s win @ Milwaukee: 47% FG, 12-of-28 from three, 27 assists, 109 points.
It may be impractical to expect 6 three’s from Redick or 18 assists from Paul but given just how palpable their effect on their offense is, having those two healthy and engaged for the remainder of the year is critical. The reasons are obvious: they both stretch defenses just enough to let Blake Griffin cause that proverbial ruckus inside.
– Kaveh Jam