The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night by a score of 93-91, giving the Clippers a commanding 2-0 win in their first round series. The Clippers scored 112 points in the first game, and so have averaged 102.5 points per game against by far the best defense in the Western Conference, a team that gave up an average of 89 points per game during the season.
So naturally TNT studio analysts Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley were falling all over themselves to talk about how bad the Clippers' offense is at halftime and after the game.
The Clippers, who have scored a total of 23 fast break points in the two games, fewer than the Grizzlies, apparently have, according to Barkley, "The worst half court offense in the history of the world." For his part, Smith chose to show two Jamal Crawford highlights during his halftime segment to demonstrate how bad the half court offense is. See? See there? It's just Jamal dribbling and shooting. Isn't that terrible? Never mind that the ball went in. And never mind that Chris Paul was on the bench at the time. And never mind that anyone can show two highlights that support any position they wish to take.
Smith and Barkley have become caricatures, parodies of themselves at this point. Barkley in particular has spent so much time talking up the Grizzlies while criticizing the Clippers this season, he can't stop doing it even with the Clippers up 2-0 in the series, having beaten Memphis six times in seven meetings. In the postgame show of a game in which Chris Paul scored the final eight points, hit the game winner, and gave his team a 2-0 lead over his beloved Grizzlies, Barkley somehow managed to work in his opinion that Tony Parker is the best point guard in the NBA. That's not easy -- and more than a little douche-y, I might add. "Let's bring in Jamal Crawford via Cisco Telepresence now -- Good win, Jamal. Do you agree that Tony Parker is the best point guard in the NBA?"
At one point while criticizing the Clippers half court offense, Barkley actually said that the Clippers wouldn't be able to just give the ball to Paul against a good team. Let that sink in for a minute. Do you see the irony here? (A) Barkley has been singing Memphis' praises all season, grouping them with the Spurs and the Thunder as one of the three best teams in the West. Until that moment, I was under the impression that Barkley thought Memphis was a good team. (B) Barkley was criticizing L.A.'s offense. Although I may not generally agree with Barkley about exactly how good Memphis is overall, their defense is undeniably good -- statistically, empirically, obviously good -- the best in the Western conference in fact. Quite the opposite of Barkley's assertion, things will actually get EASIER for the Clippers offense against any other opponent.
I can't wait to hear what these guys say when the Clippers eliminate the Grizzlies. I already know the gist. There will be nothing in the way of praise for the Clippers, but a whole lot about how they're going to get killed by the Thunder.