The two smallest men on the court came up big tonight as Chris Paul (36 pts) and Mo Williams (33 pts) tortured the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers won big on the Spurs home floor, the first time the Clips have beaten the Spurs on their home floor in ten years and the first time they've ever, that's right ever beaten them at the AT&T Center. Clips go three and three on their six game roadie and we're all feeling a little better tonight. I suppose I should mention that Spurs starting point guard Tony Parker didn't play... but why put a damper on things?
The NBA.com boxscore is here.
I have a confession to make. I'm not crazy about Mo Williams. Yeah, he showed up in great shape this year, and he expected to be the Clippers starting point guard, but... he's small, not particularly strong, gets ignored by the other team on defense, and generally doesn't do much for anyone else on the court. How often, have we seen Mo dart the length of the court, drive the lane, and, completely out of control, dive into a couple of big guys and throw up a hard stab at the rim. Turnover. Or, how often, at the end of a period have we seen him burn ten or fifteen seconds off the clock, and throw up a desperation miss? Mo's not really much of a point guard either. He isn't a great passer, doesn't seem to execute the pick and roll at all, and doesn't seem able to find the big guys (Blake Griffin) in a comfortable spot on the block. But when Mo gets hot, look out. He can hit from anywhere on the floor and he can hit from really deep.
After observing Chris Paul's game the last two months, and comparing it to Mo William's game, well, let's just say, we're all feeling pretty lucky to have Paul. How would a Clipper team that featured Mo Williams as the starting point guard and Eric Gordon as the starting two (forgetting about Gordon's current injury woes) compare to the Clipper team as currently structured? Would they be 23-15? No. Not a chance.
Tonight. Chris Paul came out on fire. Time after time the Spurs left Paul alone and time after time Paul made them suffer. He was three for six from the three point line, 9-9 at the charity stripe, and 12 for 20 overall with one turnover. Just a flawless game for Paul.
And then there was Mo Williams. The Clips had built an eight point lead at halftime, but in the middle of the third the Spurs caught them and actually managed to go up by two with around three minutes left. But the Clips stifled the San Antonio comeback, and behind William's hot shooting, the Clips held down the Spurs and finally choked them out in the fourth. Williams was 7 for 9 behind the arc. Clips were 14 for 27 overall.
- The return of Caron Butler. He looked fresh and ready-to-play after an inconfident road trip. 14 points and three assists.
- Randy Foye. Solid work from the starting two guard. 3-7 from the arc, and a big three in the fourth.
- Bobby Simmons logged 28 minutes. Nothing spectacular but played solid defense, especially in the absence of Kenyon Martin (dressed but unavailable). Seven reebs and two steals.
- DeAndre Jordan. I don't know what's up here. It might have been a matchup problem. But DeAndre played only five minutes and had five personal fouls. DJ was probably simply overmatched by the Spurs clever bigs, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, and DeJuan Blair.
- Vinny Del Negro. You know what? We kill this guy for his substitution patterns and thin playbook. But he rode the hot shooters tonight and it worked. I'm looking at the gameflow and there was a number of times he put three guards on the floor. He also played Simmons and Williams the entire fourth along with Foye who played 10/12 and that worked too... and he had the stones to sit the 40 million dollar Jordan when he was ineffective. Good work from Vinny.
Clips face the Golden State Warriors on Monday at Staples... a six-thirty game.