The Clippers have been in all kinds of games throughout the season. They’ve come out strong and kept the pressure on all the way. They’ve come out strong and had to scramble after giving up a lead. They’ve also come out slow and had to work their way back, and sometimes have been unable to given the size of their deficit.
Through every contest, however, there has been one constant: if the Clippers make more threes than their opponent, they win. If they don’t, they lose.
Last night, the Clippers made 15 3-pointers, substantially above the league average, but it wasn’t enough against a Spurs team that sank 20. In fact, the Clippers have always been fairly hot from long range in their wins; 14 is their lowest 3-point total in a victory. Only seven teams average that many threes in a game this season.
It’s a good thing that the Clippers offense is designed to produce quality looks from three. All of their starters are good shooters, and spacing was a primary factor in Serge Ibaka’s inclusion in the starting lineup. Then off the bench, they have Luke Kennard, Reggie Jackson, and Patrick Patterson; the latter two do little else but spot up from distance. The goal of the team’s offense is to collapse the defense and find the open man beyond the arc.
“When PG, Kawhi, and Lou (Williams), those guys are getting into the paint and spreading it out for threes, we’re really good, tough to beat,” Lue said after the game against Phoenix. “We need to continue to attack the paint, get inside deep, and then still be able to make the right pass.”
Over eight games, the Clippers have averaged 34.6 3-point attempts, and they’re connecting at a rate of 41.9 percent, which is second-best in the league. Judging by their formula, that gives them a good chance to win every night.
Eventually, the Clippers will diversify their strategy for winning games. For now, just hope that they’re hot when the ball is tipped.
More news for Wednesday:
- Brian Windhorst has the latest details on the NBA’s expansion plans. Where would you want to see new NBA teams?
- Clipperholics has seven questions for the Clippers after seven games.
- The Suns may have lost to the Clippers Sunday, but they’re good, and a real threat in the West. Nekias Duncan explains why.
- Marc Stein also went over Phoenix’s emergence in his weekly newsletter.
- Dan Woike checked in with Montrezl Harrell after he switched locker rooms in Staples Center.