Look! It’s the Los Angeles Clippers led by…
Yes indeed kids, Jamal Crawford does indeed lead a star-studded Clipper cast headed by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Clips were an up-and-coming team last year and appear to be on the upswing this year with some great additions, many of whom haven’t even been available or still aren’t.
My own feelings about the Clips are confusing. I was growing to love them as my second-favorite team and Caron Butler cemented that. I’m also a big Grant Hill fan. Then they acquired Lamar Odom. Well, life is hard.
Aside from their two premier players, Chauncey Billups just returned from an injury and Grant Hill is out for a couple of weeks. Then Lamar Odom. Well, he can’t get any worse right?
Actually, Odom showed flashes of his old self in a 116-81 drubbing of the Sacramento Kings earlier this week, chipping in 6 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Considering he’s been averaging 2/3/1, that’s quite an accomplishment. I think we can all agree we hope HE doesn’t have a resurgence for lots of reasons.
More importantly, the Clippers added ANOTHER sixth man of the year to the roster (Crawford) who is having a terrific year and leading the team in scoring off the bench. No one on the Clips is pouring in points but the team has incredibly balanced inside/outside scoring with Crawford followed by Griffin and Paul at just over 16 points, DeAndre Jordon, former Mav Caron Butler and Eric Bledsoe right at 10 ppg and Billups has just returned. Having Grant Hill back won’t hurt either, though that won’t be Wednesday night.
The Clippers shoot the ball well—they’re third in the league at 48% while holding their opponents to only 43%, 4th best in the league. The Clips are also excellent pickpockets, ranked #1 in steals and causing more turnovers for their opponents than anyone in the NBA. Most of the rest of their game is average to good but those two stats alone are the exact opposite of two of the Mavs major issues…poor field goal percentage and too many turnovers. The Clippers also rank 8th in rebounding which could make it another long night for the Mavs, who have been cleaning the bottom of the barrel rather than the glass.
To win against the Clippers, quite simply the Mavericks are going to have to defy those numbers and do the opposite of what they’ve done in far too many games this season. They will need to overcome a good Clippers defense and shoot well plus protect the ball. Two out of three might do the trick but otherwise, it’s going to be another long night, especially if LamLam is unexpectedly feelin’ in too.
With Jae Crowder and Dahntay Jones struggling from the field (42 and 32%, respectively) this might be a good time to give Brandan Wright another chance since whatever his issues may be, his shots have fallen in every game this year.
The Mavs also need to manage minutes wisely as they’ll be back in action Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns. As always, we’ll have a preview and full rundowns on The Smoking Cuban.