FanPost

Why can this team not stretch leads to put games away?


This was mentioned in the after game press conference with VDN, and then Michael and Don talked about it. Nobody gave a clear answer to the question though, but I think it is a huge issue.

Just wanted an open thread where we can talk about this problem. I know I have seen it mentioned in game threads before, as well.

Here are some thoughts of mine, however.

1. You increase a lead mainly by continuing to score obviously, but you also need some semi-consistent stops, and this team can just not pull that out. For all the talk about the bad defense of Mo, Blake, and even DJ biting on pump fakes, I see the real issue as Caron Butler. Every time I look at the TV, he is getting destroyed on a screen, losing his man on picks, or just being too slow to recover in general. This has gotten worse throughout the year as well, and right now I have to say he is probably the worst defender on the team. Of course, Mo is a sieve as well, and Blake is not exactly a stellar defender either. However, at least 2 of them need to be playing at key points of games (Griffin always will), so our best offensive units will never be good defensively.

2. As we saw tonight, the easy way to pull ahead is to have one or two guys push you over the top. Unfortunately, I count precisely two players on the Clippers who can do that. A problem is that Blake still has no reliable jumper, and still is not a good foul shooter. He also only scores easily when he has great position on the block. In other words, you can not simply give him the ball and expect an easy bucket- he is just not that kind of player. Caron Butler's play has been in steady decline for a while, but more than anything else, he simply can not create his own shot. He is too unexplosive and slow to consistently get open, and so often has to settle for contested mid range shots. Foye can create his own shot, but most of the time is surprisingly non streaky: for example, he will often make two or three shots in a row, but then miss his next three, instead of continuing to heat up.

This puts almost all the offensive pressure on two people: Mo Williams and Chris Paul. Paul is a far better and more consistent player, but in many ways, is less explosive. When Mo is hot, he is probably the best crunch time scorer on this team, in that he gets open looks the easiest, and he sizzles once he makes a couple shots. The issue is that he has been cold the past few weeks, despite being open. Unlike Caron, who is simply not getting any open shots, hopefully Mo can recover and start to convert on his chances. Paul is the best player on the team, but as we have seen, this team has been absolutely dependent upon him to score in crunch time, and he is not explosive enough to consistently get open any more either. As good as he is, a lot of his shots end up as being contested midrangers or 3s (which he nevertheless makes a surprising amount of).

3. Our offense inherently is weak, and so we are dependent on individuals getting hot. This kind of system just enhances our weaknesses- Blake, Foye, Caron, DJ, and the rest of the bench besides Mo can only score if CP3 sets them up. Again, this just leads to more pressure on CP3 and Mo.

tldr: This team lacks shot creators, and because of the team offensive and defensive issues, needs guys who can truly carry a team, of which we only have 2.

Is this whole thing an issue, or is it just overdramatization? Do we need an offense change, a personnel change, or both? What is our best crunch time lineup? Curious as to what people think.

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