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Small Sample Size Analysis: How the Clips’ D Fared At Home

A quick look at Blake Griffin’s defense, plus projections for Games 3 and 4

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Just to be clear: Blake is arguably a top-five offensive talent in this league when healthy. And after a career of dealing with knee problems and high ankle sprains, he may be returning to form. This past Sunday he pulled out a move where he posted up, spun baseline, and after a few dribbles, spun back toward the foul line to shoot a baby hook shot over his left shoulder. That's me trying to describe this.

But that's not what excites me about the potential of facing the very vincible Warriors in a week. No, what excites me is this: Griffin's defense has been better than I ever would've guessed, and it might be our secret weapon in a series that could still go the distance.[1]

Personally, Blake has never impressed me on defense. He's bulky enough, but his short arms leave the rim vulnerable when DeAndre isn't back there. Even with his superhuman jumping, playing him without DJ opens up chances for offensive rebounds, which are dangerous against any team.

That is why I was fucking ecstatic to see BG protecting the rim like a champ, only getting scored on once the entirety of Game 1. This man may have his limitations, but his second gear is better than most players' first. He's playing some very underappreciated defense right now, not to mention rebounding over 80 percent of the enemy's misses thus far.


Because Blake plays next to a guy that has led the league in steals six times, so maybe it is crucial that Blake's defense manifests in other ways - namely through making shots tougher for his opponents, whether they be Kawhi Leonard or "Draymid,"[2] both of whom can and will play the four. Those guys rack up the steals and blocks, but Blake can be effective by thinking outside of the box (score) and embracing his versatility. So far he has, contesting more 3 pointers than defensive wizard Justise Winslow and disrupting the Blazers' frontcourt, who are shooting 13% worse than their season average through the first two games of this series.

Certainly Griffin, A WORLD CLASS ATHLETE, can guard his position better than a guy drafted in the second round. Even if Griffin might never be recognized for his ability to lock down opposing forwards one on one, if he can disrupt a play as well as Usain Bolt disrupts McNuggets, we have a shot at stopping history right in its tracks.

Try not to overanalyze these highlights from our homestand. Game time is nearly here. And if you're someone that likes to predict the future, take a look below.

The chart shows the probability of a Clippers win with a margin of victory of up to 8 points, as well as the chances of a loss by as much as 4 points. As you can (probably) tell, the Clippers have a strong chance to pull out the sweep in this series, but things get a little tougher in Game 4 as Doc may decide to rest JJ, who's been dealing with a sore heel. We don't see the game getting out of hand beyond that range, but check back in next week to see how well we did! Enjoy responsibly.

[1] Aka "seven games"

[2] Shout out 4/20