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#67 - LA Clippers @ Houston Rockets
Olowokandi34 » 03/14/18 » 10:41pm
03/16/18 » 6:39pm
V-Ice » 01/18/18 » 10:28am
03/16/18 » 4:14pm
#64 - Cleveland Cavaliers @ LA Clippers
Olowokandi34 » 03/8/18 » 9:08pm
03/16/18 » 2:39pm
Rivers Sr. is treating Rivers Jr. like he did with Rajon.
nuraman00 » 03/16/18 » 11:11am
03/16/18 » 11:29am
Threads aren't in chronological order anymore.
nuraman00 » 03/11/18 » 12:57pm
03/16/18 » 11:19am
HOUSTON – Frustrated by the free-throw disparity, Clippers coach Doc Rivers vehemently expressed his displeasure with the officiating following his team’s 101-96 loss to the Houston Rockets Thursday night at the Toyota Center before 18,055 fans.
With his suit jacket off and his dress shirt rumpled...
The two rookies had been drafted in the second round by the Clippers last June, both Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans dreaming about getting a taste of NBA life and hoping against hope that they wouldn’t spend the majority of their first year playing for L.A.’s NBA development league team.
The Clippers played their hearts out in this one, but the Rockets made just enough plays to pull out the win at home.Game Summary:
James Harden started off the game hot, and it looked like it might be a long night for the Clippers. But they quickly bounced back to tie the game, and tightened up on defense. They were able to limit the Rockets to 28 points in the 1st quarter, giving every impression of hanging around for the long haul. The second quarter went even better, as the Clippers’ tight defense along with some missed shots and turnovers by the Rockets held Houston a mere 18 points in the period. The Clippers were never able to gain a significant advantage due to their own mistake, mainly bad turnovers and forcing bad shots.
The Clippers came out of halftime scorching hot on both ends, and a flurry by Austin Rivers and Tobias Harris had them up 12 with 7 minutes left in the third. Then the Rockets did what they’ve done all year—score points in a hurry. They drained threes, ran the ball up the court in transition, and had the game tied less than three minutes later. From then on, the game became a seesaw battle. The Clippers kept losing Eric Gordon behind the three point line, and endless Houston drive and kicks created an abundance of corner threes. But the Clippers’ own offense was working well, especially generating shots around the basket. However, a poor stretch by the Clippers’ bench to start the 4th quarter put the Rockets up by 8, and they never looked back. While the Clippers cut the lead to two on a couple occasions, it never really seemed like they had a push in them to take the lead and hold onto it. Offensive rebounds by Clint Capela and PJ Tucker didn’t help matters. James Harden hit a stepback jumper with 29 seconds left to put the Rockets up by 4, a shot that sums up his MVP campaign in one defiant statement. The Clippers’ following offensive possession was a mess, working too slowly and ineffectively, and the game ended on a missed Lou Williams floater.
- Tobias Plays Well: Tobias was easily the Clippers’ best player tonight, the only one who made positive plays from start to finish. He dominated the first half, scoring 21 of the Clippers’ 51 points, and doing so in a variety of ways. He hit open threes off the catch, cooked defenders attacking the basket, and created space for buttery smooth midrange shots. He cooled off in the second half after the Rockets made some adjustments on him, yet still pulled down rebounds and moved the ball well. He’s just been phenomenal for the Clippers, and tonight was no exception.
- Good Defensive Effort For Most Part: The Rockets shot just 39% from the field and 29% from three tonight. They won via free throws (19 makes to 4 for the Clippers) and offensive rebounds (a staggering 16 of them), not by decimating the Clippers’ defense. The Clips rotated all night, contested the Rockets’ shots well, and generally played hard on that end. Their only undoing was on the glass, and in finding Eric Gordon, who worked his way free for easy three point shots far too many times. The tone was set by Sindarius Thornwell and Jawun Evans, who picked up James Harden and Chris Paul full-court the entire night, and forced the superstar guards into several turnovers. The pressure became less effective in the 2nd half, as Harden in particular started just zooming by Thornwell and breaking down the defense to find open shooters. It was an interesting tactic that had some usefulness, but the Clippers probably shouldn’t have stuck with it for as long as they did.
- Sindarius’ Limitations Revealed: Sindarius on the whole played about as well as could be expected. Harden burned him several times, true. But the Beard burns everyone—he’s been runner-up MVP twice, and is going to win this season barring something very unexpected. Sin always plays with energy and has gotten better at not forcing things and turning the ball over. Still, his lack of offensive game hurt the Clippers tonight. The Rockets constantly sagged off him, either letting him shoot or attack into a mostly set defense, knowing he couldn’t hurt them from midrange or with any advanced playmaking. He was 3-9 from the field and 0-2 from three, and most of those misses were tough shots around the basket or uncontested jumpshots. He’s most definitely an NBA player; if he wants to make the step to reliable rotation player he needs to work on his shot and ball-handling.
Sam Dekker and Wes Johnson Struggle: For as much as Sindarius had his issues tonight, he was far, far better than Wes Johnson and Sam Dekker. Doc briefly played both of them together at the end of the 1st quarter, and the results were predictably bad. Even alone the two combo forwards struggled. They were 0-6 from the field (though Dekker did hit two free throws), and their complete lack of shooting clogged the Clippers’ spacing. They weren’t much better on defense, being too slow to guard against Houston’s guards when switched onto them on the perimeter. There are occasions when Wes and Sam can play, mostly against bad teams or opponents with weak benches, but they’re just not good enough on either end to warrant minutes against playoff teams, much less contenders. Doc doesn’t want to overplay his stars, and I get that, but the Clippers are fighting for their lives, and guys like Tobias Harris just can’t be off the court for all that long. If anything, Montrezl Harrel (only 13 minutes) probably deserved more minutes tonight.
Tough loss for the Clippers. They probably could have pulled out a win here, as the Rockets were not on their best tonight. Sadly, they fell just a little short. They will try their luck tomorrow against the Thunder in Oklahoma City, who are well rested. Hopefully the Clippers’ heavy minutes against the Rockets won’t be too big a factor, but a win seems unlikely.
The Clippers take on one of the behemoths of the Western Conference on the road.
Comment on the game below!
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The injuries just keep coming and the Clippers just keep moving forward.
They were staggered again after starting guard Avery Bradley had surgery Tuesday for a hip and abdominal muscle injury that will...
The Clippers start a long, tough road trip in Houston, home of the seemingly unstoppable 53-14 Rockets.Game Information:
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
When: 5:00 PM Pacific Time
How to Watch: NBATV, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570 Radio
Projected Starting Lineups:
Clippers: Pat Beverley Out (Knee Surgery), Danilo Gallinari Out (Fractured Hand), Avery Bradley Out (Groin Surgery)
Rockets: Ryan Anderson Out (Hip), Brandan Wright Out (Knee Soreness)
The Big Picture:
The Clippers have capitalized on a weak early March schedule to work their way into 7th place in the Western Conference standings (albeit percentage points ahead of Utah and San Antonio). They’ve won three games in a row, and five of their last six, all against middling to weak opponents. That changes from here on out. They have one of the toughest schedules remaining in the NBA, and they will need to have all hands on deck in order to stay afloat. The Clippers have been powered in recent weeks by the frontcourt duo of DeAndre Jordan and Tobias Harris. Jordan is rebounding every missed shot in sight and dominating weaker opponents around the rim, while Harris has seemingly transformed himself overnight into an all-around star forward who can make big plays on either end of the court. They have gotten enough support from around the roster to win games, but now everyone will have to up their games a bit against tougher opposition. That means consistent effort night to night, especially on defense, and renewal of the positive attitude that has carried them through so much turmoil this season. They will need it in the weeks ahead.
The Houston Rockets might be the best team in the NBA. And not just “best record in the NBA”, but actual strongest team. They are an absolutely monstrous 36-2 when Chris Paul, James Harden, and Clint Capela all play, a winning percentage that would translate to 77-5 over the course of a full season. Those three guys are the lynchpins of their team, and all are having All-NBA seasons. Harden is having his most dominant season yet, relieved of the burden of carrying the offense every single night now that Paul is onboard. CP is putting together another vintage Chris Paul season heading towards his 33rd birthday; a maestro on the offensive end, and a pitbull on defense. Outside of his free throw rate continuing to fall, Paul has shown no real signs of aging, as he’s apparently sharing the same waters of youth as good friend LeBron James. Meanwhile, Capela is doing everything that prime DJ has done the past couple years, but is doing it at age 23 with room for growth still ahead. Houston has rounded out their team with offensive firepower (Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson), versatile 3 and D players (Luc Mbah a Moute, Trevor Ariza, and PJ Tucker), and perfectly solid veterans (Nene, Joe Johnson), and seem to have a real chance at beating the hitherto unslayable Warriors in the playoffs. They are deadly.
- Lou Williams’ Outside Shooting: As I wrote about a few days ago, Lou Williams shot has been broken since the start of February. He shot just 1-7 from three against the Bulls on Tuesday, and those pullup threes that he was draining a couple months ago aren’t falling right now. He doesn’t need to pull himself back up to 40% from deep. Lou does, however, have to right the ship somewhat, as the Clippers will need him to hit some of those big outside shots if they are to win in their upcoming slate of games. The Clippers would have been lost at sea this season without Lou—he has been their anchor all year and remains such going down the stretch. Hopefully he turns his shot around soon.
- Jawun vs CP/Harden Part Two: Jawun Evans was a key figure in the Clippers’ season-swinging win against the Rockets in January. He hounded Harden on defense, and forced him into two late game offensive fouls/turnovers, frustrating him immensely. Evans missed the third Rockets game due to injury, but he’s back for this one, and his aggressive defense should earn him some minutes on one or both of the Rockets’ superstars. The key for Evans will be being a pest without getting over-aggressive and committing poor fouls or letting his opponents drive by him. When the Rockets get into the penalty early, the free throws can really add up, and that’s the last thing the Clippers want (outside of a three-point barrage).
- Three-Point Defense: The Clippers haven’t really been sharp guarding the three-point line lately. That kind of attitude/effort spells death against a Rockets team that takes more than half its shots from deep and has some of the best outside snipers in the NBA. Once the floodgates have been opened from out there, the Rockets can pour things on in a hurry. If the Clippers play with the same level of intensity against them as they have in the past couple weeks (which is unlikely, to be fair), they will get drowned in wave after wave of open three pointers. The Clippers’ defense in general is probably going to be the factor that decides the game (or at least the one that will allow the Clippers’ to make it competitive).
- Doc’s Rotations: After an ineffective first half, Boban Marjanovic did not see the floor against the Bulls after halftime. The Rockets’ ability to generate switches and run endless drive and kicks is the exact scenario that Bobi is ill-equipped to handle, and I’d be surprised if Doc played him tonight. Instead, Montrezl Harrell will probably move back to center, and either Sam Dekker or Wes Johnson will get minutes at power forward. Hopefully one of those guys steps up and makes plays tonight. While Milos Teodosic has played well of late, and was good against the Rockets in their January meeting, Doc needs to have a short leash with him—if he’s getting consistently torched by the Rockets, he has to get pulled. Really, that’s the case across the board. The Clippers play again tomorrow against the Thunder, and can’t afford to play their starters too much. On the other hand, every game is important now, and that means playing your best players big minutes on a nightly basis. Doc will assuredly have some tough decisions to make with rotations tonight.
For the Rockets’ perspective, check out The Dream Shake.