|Topic / Topic starter||Replies||Last post|
Bradley done for season.
V-Ice » 03/1/18 » 1:32pm
03/14/18 » 10:18am
Danilo Gallinari snubs Lebron...likes his teammates.
ClipsAhoy » 03/13/18 » 2:11pm
03/13/18 » 5:18pm
Great turnarounds after January 22nd of the regular season.
nuraman00 » 03/13/18 » 10:57am
03/13/18 » 1:54pm
Is Oscar Nunez funny?
nuraman00 » 03/12/18 » 9:24pm
03/12/18 » 9:24pm
Most disappointing Clipper this season?
ClipperSisyphus » 03/2/18 » 9:23am (Page: 1, 2)
03/11/18 » 6:44pm
The LA Clippers, embarking on a three-game road trip, face the Chicago Bulls.Game Information
When: 5:00pm PST
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
How to Watch: Fox Prime TicketProjected Starting Lineups
Bulls: Paul Zipser (foot)The Big Picture
The LA Clippers have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, are currently sporting the 7th-best offense in the NBA, and are now 7th place in the Western Conference standings. While it should be noted that the difference between 3rd and 10th place in the West is a mere 4 games, it must also be noted that the Clippers have utilized 31 different starting lineups this season and have never been at full health. What Doc Rivers and this Clippers team have done, especially in stellar wins against teams like the Cavaliers, Celtics, Raptors, Rockets, and Warriors, has been nothing short of remarkable. But with very real playoff hopes still alive, and a very tough schedule ahead, there’s no time to reminisce about moral victories.
With just 17 games remaining in their regular season, the Clippers have 10 on the road as well as 3 pairs of back-to-backs. And 14 of their remaining matchups come against teams with winning records. Any single slip-up going forward could mean the difference between opening the postseason against a favorable opponent and heading for the lottery. While the team recently welcomed the return of Jawun Evans, Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley are not poised to return soon enough. Sam Dekker has seemingly fallen out of the rotation, Wesley Johnson has seen a decline in minutes, and the statuses of impactful two-way players C.J. Williams and Tyrone Wallace are up in the air, at least for now. The current active rotation has found ways to score and defend down the stretch in games, even in spite of some pretty subpar outside shooting. They will need to find ways to remain focused and engaged for entire games defensively, even against lesser opponents; tonight will be no exception.The Antagonist
The Chicago Bulls, as many had predicted entering the season, haven’t been great. Trading away star Jimmy Butler, in exchange for Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine, kicked things off during the summer. They would also end up buying-out Dwayne Wade, in addition to moving Nikola Mirotic prior to the trade deadline. What remains is a young group that has dealt with a variety of injuries, as well as some bizarre on-and-off-court chemistry issues. Lottery-bound, with a 23-43 record, they aren’t favored by many NBA metrics. And they aren’t poised to be competitive any time soon. That said, there’s some upside: the Bulls own their own first-round pick in each of the next seven drafts, including a first-rounder from the Pelicans. They also have some developing talent to look forward to.
The Bulls have Lauri Markkanen, a 20 year-old 7-footer from Finland (via Arizona) who has shown offensive versatility and all-around upside; he’s averaging 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds (team-leading) per game, shooting 42.6% from the field, 34.5% from deep (on 6 attempts per game), and 86.5% from the line. They also have Dunn, arguably the centerpiece of the Butler deal (for the Bulls, anyway), who has been quite impactful. Only 23 years old, and drafted 5th overall in 2016, Dunn is averaging 13.5 points, 6.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game, shooting 42.6% from the field, 33.3% from deep, and 72.2% from the line. Bobby Portis, Justin Holiday, Denzel Valentine, and the uber-athletic LaVine round out the core of the rotation the Bulls will continue to roll out for some time.
The Bulls are coming off a road victory against the Hawks, where they posted 129 points. They have no single go-to scoring threat, but that is precisely what could make them dangerous on any given night. The Bulls have 6 players averaging double-figures in scoring, 7 if you round up Valentine’s 9.8 per game. Despite the overall level of youth and NBA inexperience, the Bulls cannot be slept on regardless of their record.Ball Movement
The Bulls currently rank 10th in the NBA in assists per game, averaging 23.5; they also rank 8th in the league in assist percentage, with 60.4% of their made field goals coming as a result of an assist. By contrast, the Clippers rank just 20th in the NBA in assists per game, averaging 22.4; they also rank just 22nd in the league in assist percentage, at 55.8%. And in their last five games, they are averaging an assist percentage of just 53%.
It is important that the Clippers trust one another enough to move the ball more often, especially in the first three quarters. More important, however, is the emphasis the Clippers will need to place on disrupting passing lanes for the Bulls. The Bulls, as illustrated by their scoring distribution and assist numbers, opt to score by committee. If the Clippers can pressure ball-handlers from the jump, they have an opportunity to eliminate a glaring advantage for the Bulls.Scoring in the Paint (and at the Line)
The Clippers rank 3rd in the NBA in points in the paint, averaging 50.9 per game. By contrast, the Bulls rank 26th, averaging 41.4 paint points per game. Further-reinforcing the inside threat the Clippers pose, they rank 2nd in the league in personal fouls drawn per game (22.3) and 3rd in free throw attempts per game (25.5). Once again, in stark contrast, the Bulls rank dead-last in the NBA in personal fouls drawn per game (17.5), and 28th in free throw attempts per game (19.3).
Combine the previous figures with the fact that the Bulls rank last in blocks per game (3.7), and it becomes clear that the Clippers must capitalize upon transition offense, scoring downhill whenever possible. That the Bulls score most of their points away from the paint, while attempting the 7th-most threes per game (30.7) in the NBA, leaves them more vulnerable to long misses (long rebounds); this allows the Clippers optimal opportunities to push the ball up the floor before Chicago’s defense can get set. The Clippers will have to be very aggressive in transition.Final Thoughts
Tonight’s matchup has trap-game potential, and it is definitely not one the Clippers can afford to lose. The Clippers face one of the toughest remaining schedules in the league, in a conference where the 3rd and 10th place teams are separated by a mere handful of games. Every game from now until the end of the regular season may have postseason implications, so the Clippers must take advantage of every opportunity they have, even without a fully-healthy roster.
It is 3:30 on Friday afternoon, four hours before the Clippers will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers, and DeAndre Jordan already is at Staples Center preparing for that night’s encounter.
The athletic marvel knows his body is his business and it is important to keep it fined-tuned so he can maximize...
The Clippers are percentage points ahead of the Nuggets and Jazz for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Here’s a look at some developments that have taken place over the past couple weeks.Good:
After being in and out of the rotation in January, and receiving almost no playing time at all in February, Sindarius has roared back to life over the past six games. Injuries to Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley pushed CJ Williams and Tyrone Wallace to primary positions in the Clippers’ rotation, but with both their two-way contracts up, Sindarius was the next man up. He has performed with flying colors, demonstrating the tenacity and defensive aptitude that made him a key player for the Clippers early in the season. However, he’s also simplified his game on offense. If he doesn’t have an advantage he gets rid of the ball quickly. If he’s open, he shoots. And if Sindarius sees a player he can beat, he attacks the basket, usually with speedy line-drives. His improved decision-making has led to stellar shooting (54% from the field, 3 for 5 from three) and a drastic reduction in turnovers compared to his bad stretch a few months ago. The lack of errors and impressive defense has translated to Sin making a positive impact in his time on the court. As long as he plays smart, he should receive minutes from Doc Rivers the rest of the season.
Jawun Evans Returns:
Jawun lost 18 games due to a groin injury, and his on-ball pressure on opposing point guards was missed many times over that period. He finally returned against the Cavaliers, and immediately started pressing Jose Calderon full court. Evans has mostly played alongside two other guards (Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams) since his return, not allowing him to do much in the way of ball-handling. Instead, Jawun has been relegated to spot-up shooting duties, certainly not the best use of his talents. However, he’s still made an impact with his defense and overall energy, and he will certainly come in handy against quick point guards the rest of the season. The best news is that he looks healthy—he’s moving well, chasing down loose balls, and working his way around screens just as he was to start the season. Milos Teodosic and Lou Williams have looked fatigued at various points over the past few weeks, and Evans’ return should help provide increased rest for the Clips’ veterans.
Western Conference Playoff Race:
The Clippers have played well over the last month. Tobias Harris has been a revelation at both ends of the court. DeAndre Jordan has improved his play compared to the confusing days before the trade deadline. Tyrone Wallace had his month of glory in the sun before returning to the G-League. Boban Marjanovic won the Clippers a key game almost single-handedly! Despite all these positive developments, the Clippers barely have a playoff spot—they are currently the 8th seed, tied with the Nuggets and Jazz. The reason they haven’t made further progress is because the rest of the Western Conference playoff teams (outside of the Spurs) have seemingly decided that losing consecutive games is a death sentence. Every time the Nuggets or Thunder stumble and lose a bad game, they come right back and win several in a row. It feels like the Blazers and Jazz might not lose another game at all. Despite losing DeMarcus Cousins and Jimmy Butler respectively, the Pelicans and Timberwolves have hung in, grounded by magnificent performances by Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. So really, the only team that the Clippers have made real progress on catching is the staggering Spurs, who have lost their aura of machinery and inevitability as of late. If the Clippers are going to make the playoffs, they can’t rely on any of these teams to fall apart. They need to win their spot on their own merits.
Lou Williams Needs Rest:
Lou Williams is averaging 32.7 minutes per game this season, and he’s only missed two contests. His previous high in minutes per game was just 29.9, and it was all the way back in 2009-2010, when Lou was a young 23 year old. That minutes per game count is even higher when you discount the first dozen or so games of the season, when the Clippers had some semblance of a healthy roster. The heavy load is clearly carrying a toll on Lou, who has not been as sharp in February and March as he was from November to January. He’s shooting 28.1% from 3 in the last two months, compared to 40.4% in November, 42.7% in December, and 36% in January. He wasn’t going to shoot over 40% all season, but his drastic decline is a sure sign of tired legs. Even his usually reliable free-throw shooting has dipped in March (22 of 33, a paltry 67%).
When Lou plays on no rest this season (i.e. on the second night of a back to back), he’s shooting 36% from deep. On one day of rest Lou is shooting 37.8%, and with two days he’s at 41%. All this suggests that Lou’s minutes need to be managed carefully down the stretch. Doc Rivers can’t afford to sit him too long, but if he keeps playing this much, his effectiveness will probably continue to dip. Lou has carried this team on his back for much of the season, and he needs as much rest as possible.
The Clippers haven’t held a team to under 100 points since February 9th against the Pistons. In those 12 games, they have given up over 110 points a staggering seven times. They are defending just enough at key points of games to pull out victories, but that strategy doesn’t seem like a formula to winning enough games to make the playoffs. At some point, the Clippers are going to have to play real, consistent defense (especially guarding the three-point line, which they have struggled with badly) for most of a game in order to pull out wins against competitive teams. Their schedule tightens up after their next game against the Bulls tomorrow, and the losses could really start to mount if their defense doesn’t improve. The thing is, the Clippers have the personnel to play at least solid defense. They just need to give superior effort on that end, and to execute their schemes better. If they can keep their defense at a non-leaky level, their fantastic offense should be good enough to win them plenty of games. Let’s see if their effort improves as the competition stiffens: this Clippers’ team doesn’t play to the level of competition as much as the Lob City era did, but that could still be a factor in recent games.
Tobias Harris is proving game in and game out that the Los Angeles Clippers made the right choice to trade Blake Griffin. At the time of the trade, many thought the Los Angeles Clippers had lost their mind. Trading Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons was so out of the blue that it caught the […]
Yet another week presents the Clippers with a demanding schedule.
But such will be the case during these final five weeks of the regular season as the Clippers make a push for a Western Conference playoff berth.
They begin the trek with a game at the struggling Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.