|2015/2016 NBA Preseason|
|October 14, 2015 | 5:00 AM (PDT)|
|Shenzhen Universiade Center (Shenzhen, China)|
|NBATV, KFWB 980 AM|
|Win-Loss Breakdown (2014-2015 Regular Season)|
|Chris Paul||PG||Kemba Walker|
|J.J. Redick||SG||Jeremy Lamb|
|Wesley Johnson||SF||Nicolas Batum|
|Blake Griffin||PF||Marvin Williams|
|DeAndre Jordan||C||Al Jefferson|
|Advanced Stats (2014-2015 Regular Season)|
|96.96 (10th of 30)||Pace||95.33 (22nd of 30)|
|109.8 (1st of 30)||ORtg||97.6 (28th of 30)|
|103.0 (15th of 30)||DRtg||101.0 (9th of 30)|
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Out) Shoulder
JAWS OF LIFE
Two of the team's three point guards, Chris Paul and Austin Rivers, return to action after both missed the previous game against the Hornets due to injury. Chris Paul broke the tip of his finger, missing all the ligaments aiding in decreasing the severity, while Austin Rivers lost five teeth following a high elbow from Branden Dawson. The teeth were put back in place just like the projected rotation is now back in place. Pablo Prigioni played thirty minutes in their absence but now how will the minutes be allocated? Last game, Prigioni complimented both the starting unit and bench well. Chemistry issues disturb the rest of the second unit early in preseason, especially between ball dominate guards Lance Stephenson and Jamal Crawford. With Austin Rivers, another ball dominant player coming back, sharing the ball will be critical for the Clippers' savior, the bench.
RIGHT PASS, WRONG GUY
In a shrinking league, the Clippers remain one of the few teams with a traditional frontcourt. Blake Griffin posted up the seventh most frequently in the league last year. Deandre's Maverick agreement focused around a larger role offensively. In the first few games, there has been a focus on getting the all inside. However, guards have struggled to get them the ball. Post passing is one of the largest factors in the Clippers 17.8 turnover ratio, compared to last seasons 12.7. Guards tentatively look at the post, ball faking instead of throwing the pass, completely missing the open passing lane. Post passing relies on anticipation. Clipper guards have waited until the man is open, therefor already being late.
Jeremy Lin checks in, crowd roars. Jeremy Lin touches ball, crowd roars louder. Jeremy Lin scores, crowd goes bonanza. Despite Lin's Taiwanese decent, the residents of Shenzhen, China do not care. He's their star, even with his Jersey Shore, guido'd up faux hawk. The Shenzhenese did a lot of cheering last game. He led the Hornets with 16 points, getting half of his points from midrange jumpers. His midrange proliferation forced the defending big to creep up, which gave space to Cody Zeller and ex-Clipper Spencer Hawes in the short corner. Sprung free with pick-and-rolls, for the Clippers to contain Hornets guards better, they must fight through the screen quicker.
DIVERSIFYING THE PORTFOLIO
Against the Houston Rockets last playoffs, playing without Chris Paul, Blake was a triple double machine. Last game without Paul, Blake fell one rebound short of a triple double. Griffin really looks comfortable in all areas of the floor offensively. He'll shoot the midrange jump shot without hesitation. This preseason he's refined his dribble handoff skillset, getting more adept at reading the defender. The extensive post work he said he worked on over summer hasn't stuck out, but Blake hasn't been as interested in scoring this preseason. His shooting percentage is low, currently at 39 percent. As the preseason extends, look for his interest in scoring and shooting percentage to increase. For now, appreciate on full display how well rounded Blake's game has become.
THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR HARD WORK
Charlotte averaged 9.2 fastbreak points per game last season. On Sunday the Hornets scored 17 points, a mark that would have put them at fourth best in the league. The Clippers scored 11. The Hornet's scored 9 points on second chance opportunities. Clippers scored 6. The Clippers energy was lacking (except Josh Smith's jaw that warranted a technical). The Hornets simply outworked the Clippers. Spencer Hawes snatched 13 rebounds if that says anything.
The Hornets shot 28 free throws against the Clippers. The Raptors shot 36. The Nuggets drew a preseason low of 20 free throws. Clippers defenders are sticking their arms places they shouldn't be, particularly on jump shots. Wesley Johnson, four total fouls last game, has been caught a few times fouling a jump shooter. Josh Smith tied the team lead with four fouls last game, including one technical. Clippers are reaching instead of moving their feet, leading to chances at the line for the opponent. On the other side of the ball, the Clippers are doing a good job of drawing fouls, shooting 20-per-game this preseason. As a team they are shooting 73.8 percent, an improvement of two percent from last year.
WHO WORE IT BETTER
Paul Pierce started the first game at small forward. Wesley Johnson started the next two. As of now, Johnson will start the fourth. The prehistoric Pierce has not played much this preseason, playing 14 minutes in two games, and eight in the other. He's played both small forward and power forward. While on the floor, lineups with Pierce have an offensive rating of 73.5 and a defensive rating of 89.2. Wesley Johnson has played almost exclusively small forward. Johnson-filled lineups post an offensive rating of 98.8 and a defensive rating of 95. Pierce's small minutes skew the stats, but it's interesting to note how much better the team has been with Wesley Johnson playing. It is very unlikely lineups with Pierce continue to score this badly, but game tape says Wesley should be the starter.
The Clippers studying abroad session is over after the game. They will be in California for the rest of the preseason with four home games over a five game stretch. The Clippers next game is at home against the reigning champ Warriors on October 20th. Also on the schedule are the Trail Blazers, Mavericks and Kings twice. The Hornets will return stateside with six games remaining on the schedule. They play the Knicks next on October 17th.
Michael Jordan reportedly turned down six draft picks from the Boston Celtics to draft Frank Kaminsky. Jordan invested a lot in Frank. Hopefully the Wisconsin man's basketball skills translate better to the pro's than his dancing skills