Los Angeles Clippers (40-21) @ Dallas Mavericks (33-30)
American Airlines Center
6:30 p.m. PST
March 7, 2016
Fox Prime Ticket
1. What are the chances we see these two teams face off in the first round of the Playoffs?
Kaveh Jam (@kavehsroom): It’s a real possibility if the Clippers can catch the Thunder for the third seed and Dallas holds firm at six. It’s far from a guarantee and frankly it could just as likely not happen considering the Blazers are charging hard and just half a game away from dropping the Mavs to seventh.
Aaron Williams (@aaronsmarter): Looking at their schedule to close the season, I don’t see too many games that Dallas is a LOCK to win, meaning they probably won’t catch Memphis before the Playoffs start. They do, however, face Portland twice in April; it seems just as likely the Clippers end up battling the Blazers, who have somewhat shocked the world this season. Personally, I am kind of hoping for a revenge series against those darn Rockets. It’s been a year, so the dish should be sufficiently cooled to be satisfying, I’ll happily take the favorable match up with Mavs though.
Roscoe Whalan (@RoscoeWhalan): It’s possible but only if the Clippers snatch third and Dallas hold firm at 6. As much as the Grizzlies are undermanned I don’t see the Mavericks catching up that many games between now and then. So, the question is: can the Clippers catch the Thunder? I guess Wednesday’s game between LAC & OKC will go a long way in helping us find out.
2. What do you think of Mark Cuban’s suggestion to move back the 3 point line?
Jam: There is some merit to Cuban’s suggestion. Those who favor moving it back likely feel the midrange jump shot is effectively being phased out. But moving the 3 point line back feels like an unnecessary overreaction to Stephen Curry – one player who happens to be one of the premier shooters in history. This season, Curry has over 100 more made 3 point field goals then the next person on nearly 200 more attempts. The mere mortals behind him are all still great 3 point shooters in their own right and moving the line back would likely not pose some major deterrent to hoist from distance.
Williams: HA! HAHAHAHA! HA! Did I mention… HA! Isn’t this the same guy who wanted DeAndre Jordan to “work on his free throws”? Look: if the NBA can’t change a rule because one or two guys are really bad at one aspect of the game, it REALLY can’t change the dimensions of the WHOLE COURT because one or two guys are really, really good at shooting the ball from further away. Where would they put it anyway? Curry is regularly(!) pulling up from halfcourt. If a guy hits from the center court logo, the only thing you can do is send the press, or put in your goons and hope he gets the message.
Whalan: Do it for Antoine Walker! Four point line! Real talk, nah, Stephen Curry is an exception to the rule right now. Until other folks start dropping them in from 30-feet like it’s nothing then maybe there’s a conversation to be had. Right now, let’s clean up the Hack-A-Jordan problem that actually makes the game unbearable to watch before going after something that is entertaining, and for that reason, Cubes, I’m out.
3. When Blake returns to the line up do you think he should start or come off the bench?
Jam: Start. The quicker he can re-acclimate with the starting unit, the quicker everyone can adjust. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he should only play with the starters. The more important issue is to somewhat stagger Griffin’s minutes to alleviate some scoring burden from Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.
Williams: Roscoe. Sir. Please. Wateryewdewing? You start Blake. Water is wet, sun is warm, Kevin Durant is tall. These are immutable facts, man. HOWEVER! The caveat here is that Doc has got to get better at staggering his two big guns, the way Billy Donovan has with the aforementioned KD. One or the other should be on with the bench – not just to provide scoring, but to open up the floor for players who would benefit from less attention from opposing defenses.
Whalan: Aw, you guys are no fun! Devil’s advocate though: the Clippers have the best defense in the league since the All-Star break and are clicking in a pretty good way. Arguably, Blake’s defense is far from his most complimentary attribute. Imagine teams dealing with the already potent pick and roll duo of DeAndre and CP3 before the bull in the china shop comes hurtling in off the bench, destroying opposing second unit’s in his wake! Unstoppable! Until he meets Mo Speights…