All season long, MDSr draws up the plays and tries to convince his players that his way is the right way…but they’re just not buying it. The players go through the motions and the Clipper offense seem uninspired and largely predictable. Not tonight.
In an interview MDSr said, in effect, that if we give him his top guys healthy he’d be happy to play any other starting five fully healthy. Tonight (in the second half, at least) they pretty much proved GM/Coach Dunleavy right (for better or worse) that this line-up, when healthy and given a chance to play together and learn each other's tendencies, have exactly the personnel they need to be competitive night in and night out. The players themselves just need to believe.
Frankly, the only way to beat the Clips when they play together this way is to outscore them. Forget about defending them because who do you guard? When Washington tightened up their interior defense, the Clips starting dropping 3’s from Novak, Gordon, and Jones. Washington adjusts by sending help to the perimeter, but then gets stomped on by Kaman under the basket. They pick up Kaman, but then get abused by mid-range jumpers from Al and Zach. They attempt to adjust to that, then Zach, Al, Gordon, Davis drive past them. Then the 3’s start coming again. Opposing NBA teams, please pick your poison. The Clips were a nightmare to defend tonight and they could be every night if they play together. I think the turning point was the game against the Nets. Why? Because the Clips won the game because of the pass BD chose to make—he would never have given up a chance for the game winner early on in the season, agree?
BD is exactly the player the Clips need because he can BOTH run when he needs to AND manage the game when he needs to. One night he can score over 20 points. The next he can give 20 assists.
I just hope that the Clips can keep this group together. It would be sad if Novak OR Freddy Jones left after the season…and I’m sure they will be tempted to take up other offers. Hopefully though, they’ll come to realize what I think BD figured out while sitting out injured on the bench while watching the scrubs picking up enough valuable experience to become contributors: that while the grass may seem greener on the other side, this team has enough talent to be competitive and they have the best situation in the league: 1) playing with zero pressure/ zero expectations because their co-tenants are the Lakers and 2) they have the greatest challenge in the world: to take the city of LA away from the Lakers.