Hey guys, I was sitting center court today, in Section 5 row 2.. I loved where I was sitting. The view was amazing and I got to see everything in perfect detail, including the player reactions, the team chemistry, everything.
From what I saw, it was a great game for the Clippers. There were also many flaws that I noticed, but overall this team is much more tightly knit and close together than last years 13 new faces on 1 team.
Blake Griffin- Played limited minutes, coming right off injury. His shot during warmups looked INCREDIBLE. And I don't mean compared to college- I mean even compared to Summer league. He completely fixed the cosmetics of his shot, it LOOKS beautiful and is much more consistent now. He started the game with 2 missed jumpers, but doesn't worry me at all.
He didn't really create his own shot today, but HE CERTAINLY CAN. Today was very odd- he wasn't really too aggressive offensively (except for fast breaks) and he was kind of shy. Maybe nervous since this was his first time playing against legit NBA players outside practice? Griffin will be fine. He has more than enough handles to create his own shot, and he has a nice looking jumper to keep defenders honest.
His low scoring (even in limited minutes) was partly his team's fault. I saw countless times where he pointed up, asking for an alley oop, and was ahead of everyone else (he's actually very quick to run down the floor!) and yet didn't get the ball. He also hustled alot and even dove over the scorer's table, just like the one he did in college! He landed on a few reporters and the reporters were pumping their fists like "YES, BLAKE GRIFFIN LANDED ON ME!!"
Eric Gordon- Played great, even Brandon Roy couldn't stop him. He added a little floater to his already full repertoire and looks like he bulked up a bit over the summer. His shot looked incredible too- in both warmups and in the game.
Chris Kaman- Actually looked very good! At one point he made 4 jumpers back to back, including a crazy fadeaway free throw range one after an offensive rebound. Lagged sometimes on defense, allowing easy rebounds/points for Oden and Przybilla but overall did better than I expected.
Baron Davis- Great game. From the FIRST POSSESSION of the game (he was facing AWAY from the basket, threw a pass backwards to a cutting Camby for the dunk). Took GOOD SHOTS, ran the offense while yelling and being a leader, and played great defense on Roy when Gordon wasn't guarding him. Hopefully he plays like this during the season!!
Sebastian Telfair- Very impressed by Telfair. I love his ballhandling and passing abilities. His shot was a little suspect and took a few forced shots, but sometimes they would full court press him or double team him and he would still escape with the ball in his possession. Threw an AMAZING pass to Deandre Jordan after an anklebreaking crossover, and Deandre rewarded him with an assist by slamming it HARD.
Rasual Butler- What a bounceback game. I really enjoyed watching him and at times, forgot that he was picked up by us. I'm really glad to have him, he's very versatile. Kinda reminds me of Rashard Lewis- has a very dangerous shot from outside, but likes to pump fake and drive in as well. Has a nice midrange game too- definitely someone to watch out for during the regular season.
Craig Smith- Boy can he rebound. He hustled alot tonight. Took some weird looking shots but I forgot that they're regular shots for him. Turnaround fadeaway? Easy shot for Smith. Him and Rasual Butler also made some WEIRDDD looking twisty layups, never knew they could do that!
Kareem Rush- Kept my eye on him today, since he had such a good first game. Had an off game today, didn't take the best shots. So a bad game.. So far we've seen 1 good and 1 bad game from him. So which one is the real Kareem Rush?
Al Thornton- Played a good game, took some of the shots that everyone hated last season, but MADE THEM. The thing with Al is- I've always had faith in his shot, he really needs it so that he can continue slashing without problems. He needs to threaten the defender with a jumpshot, and it looks like he's been working on it. He had a CRAZY step back jumper today that left his defender stumbling. He acted like he was driving in and instead of continuing, he just stopped and pulled up and scored.
Deandre Jordan- Another great night. The only bad thing about Deandre's night was his free throw shooting. But it's okay, he played great defense (even swatted Brandon Roy's shot!) and rebounded and did everything else well. His game is really maturing, I've been keeping my eye on it. Remember how he used to jump for every pump fake last year? One play where Roy ran past EJ, he ran into Deandre again.. so Roy tried pump faking, Deandre kept his ground. As Roy pulled up for the shot, DJ just put both hands up and completely changed Roy's shot.. Now that's defense! I'm very proud of the work DJ has been putting in.
Steve Novak- Poor Novak barely got any playing time tonight. And he didn't even play last game- what's going on here? But when he did come in, he took a 3.. The crowd got so loud and anxious when the ball was in the air. He missed- and as he did I was thinking to myself.. "Steve Novak is HUMAN!? When did this happen!?"
Marcus Camby- Very good game by Camby. Hustled and played great defense as usual, and also buried all his jump shots. Camby needs to make those open jumpers to prevent his defender from leaving him and double teaming someone else like Baron or EJ. Camby made his shots and also drove in and had a couple And 1's.
Some team chemistry stuff
Deandre jordan stood by the scorer's table as his teammates were walking on the court to start the game. He bumped every single one and gave them all different types of high 5's while smiling and giving them encouragement.
Blake Griffin was on the jumbotron, he did a pre-recorded video talking about his home opener. As he was on, some of the Clippers poked him and pointed at the jumbotron. After the video ended, Deandre stood up stiff (imitating BG's posture in the video) and made a face while saying "Hi, I'm Blake Griffin, and you are watching my Staples Center debut" in a teasing voice. Blake laughed and pushed him.
During the Blazer comeback, Baron was FURIOUS. He threw the ball hard at the ref (but the ref was far away so no technical was assessed). As he was walking to the bench pissed as hell, Deandre Jordan came over and patted him on the head... LOL
Blake Griffin was high 5'ing everyone on the court when they got a stupid foul called against them. He was trying to make sure none of them were discouraged by the officiating (these new officials have been calling a LOT of fouls!)
Anyways this was a very fun night, my buddy bailed on me so I spent most of my Friday afternoon before the game looking frantically for a friend to join me.
The couple sitting next to us were very nice- and very good Clipper fans. We were talking about how we became Clipper fans and all the inside jokes from a while back- and then we found out they were actually on Topbuzz (and read Clipsnation frequently). So thank you to the Canons for making tonight more fun and social!