Five Talking points from the Clippers Nets Match
The Brooklyn Nets edged the LA Clippers 86-76. Here are five talking points from that match:
The LA Clippers are not as good as their record
Hurray they have beaten the Lakers, Spurs and Grizzlies. Well they have also lost to the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This team may have a record of 8-4 , but they don’t always play like that. As was evidenced today, the Clippers only managed to score 76 points in this loss vs the Nets who had 86. The reason for this inconsistency is that almost every player on this team averages over ten minutes per game, and they are led in scoring by their bench player Jamal Crawford. That makes for a lot of variables all around and thus far it has worked for the Clippers. But vs the Nets tonight they lost another one which you wouldn’t expect a team of their potential to lose.
The Brooklyn Nets are a Eastern Conference Contender
The addition of Joe Johnson seemed like a consolation move on the part of Billy King after the Nets failed to land Dwight Howard. Now more and more it seems like the Nets may just have the best backcourt in the league. If either fails to step up, the other carries the load. Deron Williams was a little limited with only 11 points, but Joe Johnson stepped up with 19 points to keep the back court production up. The old Joe Johnson of Atlanta days is out now and he is showing us what he can do when he has someone like Deron Williams to create and Brook Lopez inside to make space for him.
The other addition, Gerald Wallace is one of the best defenders in the league and can shut down any wing player any night. The nets have all the pieces on them to be a legitimate Eastern Conference threat, and not just because the conference is a weak one. They improved their standing to 7-4.
Blake Griffin turning it up on defense
Blake Griffin’s athleticism is otherwordly, and it is something which his detractors point at and bemoan why he isn’t as terrorizing on defense as he is on offense. He seemed to have a plan of his own for his development. He has said before that in his first season he was just looking to play to his strengths on offense. Second season he began to display his jumper saying that he has been working on it all along and just wanted to break it out as a regular part of his repertoire in his second season. This season Blake’s offensive numbers have been lower than his average. One reason being that it is too early in the season to take a reliable average. Another reason is that he is expending more effort on the defensive end. Blake is finally starting to embrace both ends of the court. The duo of Griffin and Jordan flying around and swatting shots left, right and center makes the Clippers paint a unwelcome place for opponents to get into.
Here’s what Griffin did to Deron Williams, a candidate for block of the year:
Vinny Del Negro needs to draw up plays
I’d love to sneak a peek into the clipboard of the Clippers coach and figure what exactly does he draw up on that whiteboard? Because on the floor its hard to tell if he drew anything up at all. Half of the Clippers offense consists of Paul’s in and out dribble and running around screens, Jamaal Crawford shaking and baking his way, and the Clips passing it around like a hot potato before someone just launches a jumper with the clock winding down. The lucky thing is that Paul and Crawford are supremely talented and can carry an offense even without having plays called for them. But these ad hoc plays expose them down the stretch in crunch time. Just like their previous game vs the Thunder, the Clippers gave this one away in the final minutes because of lack of execution.
Case in point. Clock running down and the ball is back at the halfcourt, leaving Crawford to pull something outta thin air. Which he does this time, but it won’t work all the time.
Brook Lopez is the best center in the East right now
“There are very few centers in the N.B.A. that can do what he can do on the floor, especially offensively,” Coach Avery Johnson said. “He can pass, he can score inside, he’s got a good jump shot, finishes inside, runs the break.”
Shaq concurs that Lopez is among the best in the East. Right now, as Andrew Bynum is still inactive and busy growing his fro. Brook Lopez has been criticized for not regularly averaging double figures in rebounding. But that is more of a product of the team around him, and this season with Gerald ‘Crash’ Wallace crashing the boards, Lopez’s numbers won’t shoot up in that. Regardless, he is currently the best center in the league. He finished with 26 points on 13-24 shooting, albeit with only 5 rebounds. He also had 3 blocks. He is one of the handful of centers who can drop 20 points any given night on anyone.