Sunday, January 1, 2012

Game 4 Recap: January 1, 2012, vs. Portland Trail Blazers (at Staples Center)

Well, folks. We’ve finally one at home; we’ve finally beaten a legitimate, playoff contending team; we’ve finally seen, first-hand, why we need (and have always needed) a closer, someone to keep us afloat when the proverbial ship is, well, sinking. 

Luckily, that closer in Chris Paul. And she sure can close. During the fourth quarter, when Portland made a triumphant challenge at the Clippers' 17-point lead, Paul took over the game, making a huge layup then interrupting Jamal Crawford's three-point shot attempt with less then six seconds left in the game. This guy is big-time.

Always concerned with improvement (and not forcing such a dire situation after leading by 17), there are still a couple of areas where the Clippers can definitely improve, and this game, despite win, showed them clearly. 

Rebounding. I'll say it time and time again, but with Griffin and Jordan in your front court, there should be no team out-rebounding you. I noticed, as with previous games, that Griffin has been doing a lot of ball watching while anyone is shooting the ball, and does not get into position to rebound while the ball is in the air. Tonight, Aldridge did a great job of boxing Griffin out (even though he still nabbed ten boards). Honestly, to be out-rebounded 46-38 against a team that in the 30s percentage-wise for the first three quarters is pretty inexcusable.

There are, in truth, a number of things that the team still just needs to figure out. Without having the luxury of any sort of worthwhile preseason, the team is simply still working on organizing defensive and offensive sets, which is only natural. They need time, plain and simple.

During this game, though, a number of adjustments were made from previous games—better sets, smarter and more effective screens, and even the recognition on Del Negro's part to have DeAndre Jordan guard Aldridge because Griffin wasn't being effective enough. The Clippers, despite their lack of time to gel and mature as a team, held a team averaging 106 points a game to 88: looks like progress to me. Caron Butler kept Gerald Wallace to 0 points—zero—while scoring a season-high 19. And Mo off the bench: 13, 8 and 4?! Wow. Six man of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment