I went to a housewarming party last night and DVR’d the Clippers game. Although I expressly warned my friends not to send me any spoilers, I inevitably received word of the final score via text message. Upon hearing the disheartening news, I decided to delete the recording and save myself 48 minutes of frustration. As a result, I do not have much to say about last night’s loss to the Bulls that isn’t already apparent from the box score.
I’ll briefly add that it is encouraging to see that the offense seemed to be clicking last night. Surprisingly, the Clippers’ offense has been humming along at a rate of 107.2 points per 100 possessions in this young season (third best in the NBA), even though it hasn’t looked as pretty as many of us expected. The defense, on the other hand, is broken. The Clippers are allowing a league-worst 113.3 points per 100 possessions. The question is whether our defensive futility is attributable to personnel, coaching, or lack of practice time. Some of the more optimistic Clippers fans have pointed out that Miami started out 9-8 last year before cruising to a 58-24 record and a Finals berth, suggesting that the Clips just need time to gel before they hit their stride. So I decided to look more closely at the Heat’s start to see if there is any hope for the Clippers on the defensive end. Interestingly, last year’s Heat team was an excellent defensive squad right off the bat; they allowed just 89.7 points per 100 possessions over their first five games. This is clearly too small a sample size to draw much of a conclusion from, but it suggests that the Clips’ defensive problems might be rooted in something deeper than lack of familiarity.
Unfortunately, that’s all I have time for today. I’ll be back in full force tomorrow night with my take on what should be a great Clippers-Blazers matchup. Happy New Year!
There are two schools of thought when it comes to predicting the beneficiaries of this lockout-shortened schedule. On the one hand, there is the theory – most prominently espoused by Bill Simmons – that young, deep teams will have an advantage because they will be better equipped to weather the brutal physical demands of a 66-game, 120-day schedule. On the other hand, some have argued that the real winners will be the teams with minimal personnel turnover, as the truncated training camp will give them a comparative advantage against recently assembled rosters. Last night, we saw our first piece of empirical evidence in support of the latter theory. Continue reading
My best Christmas present this year was, for once, not a v-neck sweater. My wife, possibly prompted by my Clipper-centric Christmas post, gave me a white Blake Griffin jersey. It was a fun and thoughtful gift. Unfortunately, I must return it immediately.
I can’t wear jerseys to games anymore. When I was a kid, I noticed that the Sonics lost every time I wore my Kemp jersey; I stopped wearing Sonics jerseys in 1996. Last year, a friend of mine won an autographed Eric Gordon jersey at a charity auction. Because I was the only Clippers fan he knew, he generously gifted it to me. Naïvely hoping that my jersey jinx was Sonics-specific, I busted out my Gordon uni for a game against the Warriors. Of course, Gordon was decked in mid-air, landed awkwardly, broke his wrist, and missed the next eighteen games. His signed jersey is now buried deep in my closet. So while I would love to proudly display my support for Blake Griffin, I know that doing so would result in unmitigated disaster for the Clippers.
More after the jump… Continue reading
Jed Jacobsohn - Getty Images
The Clippers looked like crap in their season opener. Yet they won. By 19. On the road. In a stadium where they lost by an average of 14 points per game last season. What to make of this? Continue reading
Yes, he is. Observe the tubby little fellow in all his glory above. Those arms looks like my grandmother’s. (R.I.P. Bubbie).
I first noticed Paul’s rotundity at the open scrimmage last Sunday. I leaned over and whispered to my wife, “Is Chris Paul fat? He’s fat, right?” She kept assuring me that he was just muscular, and he only looked fat because he was so much shorter than everyone else. But there’s no denying that he’s packing a few (dozen) extra pounds. As someone who suffered through the Baron Davis era in Clipperland, I was mortified that our prized new acquisition would follow in BD’s lazy footsteps. Vinny Del Negro even passive-aggressively called Paul out after the first preseason game, saying, “He’s gonna lose a few pounds, he’s gonna feel a little bit better.”
Of course, the big question is whether Paul’s frame will affect his game. Everyone loves an overweight power forward who uses his big posterior to box out and inflict punishment. But “The Round Mound of Assist” really doesn’t have the same ring to it; we like our point guards svelte.
After watching Paul huff and puff his way through two preseason games, I’m convinced that this is not going to be a long-term problem. He’s obviously not in peak physical condition, but that’s to be expected considering he spent his summer negotiating the CBA, ostensibly at the expense of hitting the gym. Despite his poor conditioning, his preseason stats (grain of salt, of course) have been sparkling, and he seems to be penetrating at will. Besides, Paul’s game has always been predicated more on court vision and ball control than blinding speed. So while he’ll never regain his Wake Forest physique, Clippers fans can rest assured that he won’t be the Shawn Kemp of this lockout.
The Clippers are reportedly closing in on a one year, $1.3 million veteran’s minimum deal with Reggie Evans. I am now officially ready to declare my undying allegiance to my lord and savior, Neil Olshey. Sure, Chris Paul, Caron Butler, and Chauncey Billups were splashier acquisitions. But this is the magnum opus in an offseason for the ages.
Reggie Evans is one of my all-time favorite players. I immediately took a liking to him when he burst onto the NBA scene in 2002. At the time, I was living in Seattle and following the Sonics religiously. After an illustrious college career at Iowa, in which he twice led the Big Ten in rebounding, Evans somehow went undrafted and had to battle for a spot on the Sonics’ roster. Not only did he make the squad, but his toughness and tenacity quickly earned him a starting spot. He was an instant fan favorite. He was the type of player who I would have hated if he had played for anyone else; but I was thrilled to have him on my team. He was dirty, unrefined, and more dirty (in a recent SI poll of NBA players, Evans was voted the dirtiest player in the league), but his effort and energy were unrivaled. Standing just 6’8″, Reggie averaged an incredible 9.3 rebounds in only 23.8 minutes per game in 2004-05; the Sonics’ shocking 52-win season was attributable in large part to Reggie’s dominance on the glass. When Reggie left in 2006, the Sonics lost their heart. Continue reading
I usually don’t get too worked up about Christmas. I’m not especially religious, and I think the whole concept of exchanging gifts is kind of absurd, so for me the holiday is really just a good excuse to relax and hang out with family. My annual routine goes something like this: I begrudgingly dole out all the gifts I bought the night before, feign enthusiasm as I receive an army of v-neck sweaters in return, drink a bottle of wine, get into an asinine argument with my sister-in-law’s creepy-boyfriend-du-jour, and then call it a night. I’m usually content just to make it through the day without offending anybody by giving them an XL when they claim to wear an L.
This year, however, I’m literally counting down the days until Christmas. The Clippers play Golden State on Christmas night, and visions of CP3 breaking Steph Curry’s ankles dance in my head. I can’t remember ever being this excited for a non-playoff game. Like millions of children around the world, I’m going to have a hard time getting any sleep on Christmas Eve. Inspired by my childlike exuberance, I’ve put together a ClipperCentric Christmas list. I have one request for each expected starter. Here’s what I hope to unwrap on Christmas Day: Continue reading
“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” -Groucho Marx
Last night I sauntered into the gym wearing my favorite Clippers tee-shirt. I didn’t give much thought to my choice of attire; I wear that shirt to the gym at least once a week. After a few minutes in the weight room, I noticed that I was drawing furtive sneers from many of my fellow LA Fitness members. Either they were jealous of my superhuman strength (yeah I bench 135, get over it), or they disapproved of my shirt. I’m used to drawing reactions when I wear Clippers gear, but this was different than the standard sympathetic chuckle; there was hostility in their glances. Suddenly it dawned on me that they probably mistook me for that most universally reviled sports fan: The Bandwagoner. I felt the need to somehow explain that I was a real Clippers fan. I wanted to tell them that I bought my shirt off the clearance rack at Ross Dress for Less back when Zach Randolph was wildly flinging 20-footers for a 19-63 Clippers squad and Blake Griffin was but an intriguing prospect at Oklahoma. I needed them to know that I liked the Clippers before it was cool to like the Clippers. Continue reading
Well, I already promised to light myself on fire if we included Gordon in the trade. But I can’t deny that I’m exuberant right now. It might have something to do with the sudden 100% increase in the value of the ticket package I bought last night. I’m still digesting it all, but here are my scattershot thoughts: Continue reading
Well, I sure picked one hell of a time to start a Clippers blog. Over the past week, the rumors and stories have proliferated at such a rapid rate that it would require a round-the-clock effort to chime in with my analysis of every breaking development. For those who haven’t been glued to Twitter and ESPN for the last few days, this link offers an excellent summary of the flurry of Clippers-related news.
In short, it appears that the Clippers agreed in principle to a CP3 trade featuring Kaman, Aminu, Bledsoe, and the Minnesota pick. That deal reportedly fell apart after David Stern insisted on the inclusion of Eric Gordon (Note: Chris Broussard continues to suggest that Eric Gordon and the Minnesota pick were both included in the agreed-upon deal, and that Eric Bledsoe was the dealbreaker). Rather than mortgage the team’s future for a two-year rental of Paul, Neil Olshey respectfully declined Stern’s “steep” offer. This came as a huge relief to me, as it meant that I didn’t have to light myself on fire. Continue reading