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Lob City Highlight(s) of the Night
There weren’t any individual plays worth another look, so instead let’s look at a compilation of nice shots from Griffin that if added together are easily worth a top ten spot on SportsCenter.
The Clippers managed to squeeze out a one point win after being down 14 with about two minutes left in the third quarter, but according to Vin Diesel in The Fast and The Furious, “It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.” The biggest part of the win was Blake, who probably played his best game of the season. He accomplished his highest game score of the season with 25.8, while recording his seventh double-double and a season-high 30 points.
Overall the Clippers shot well from the field at 47.2%, which is about their season average. From three point range, however, they shot an atrocious 19.1%, and shockingly enough that is not even their worst 3P% of the season. Furthermore, they only shot 10% in the second half. As a coach, at what point do you say, “OK guys, the threes are just not falling tonight, so maybe let’s ease off of them before it costs us the game.” And it’s not like they started off hot: they went one for seven in the first quarter alone.
On the other side of the ball, the Jazz went lights out with 56.8% shooting, which is the highest of their season by 5.7%. And really, the Clippers defense has not been as sharp over the course of the last seven games allowing teams to shoot 46.6% from the field, compared to the 42.1% during the first 10 games. They are on a three game winning streak, however, so how much of a concern the slippage in defense really is (and they are still ranked ninth in the league in efficiency) remains to be seen.
After going undefeated during their one game road trip, the Clippers kick off another three game home stand against the 8-9 Mavericks, who are still without their superstar Dirk. The Mavs rank middle of the pack in both offensive efficiency, 16th, and defensive efficiency, 19th and should not pose a great challenge for the Clippers who should be able to extend their win streak.
There are really two keys to a Clippers victory: keep the Mavs from shooting lights out, and containing O.J. Mayo who has really made a leap this year. His previous highs for Minutes Played, FG%, 3P%, ORtg, & Win Shares were 38.0, 45.8%, 38.4%, 110, .094 respectively. This season, he is putting up career highs in all of those categories while playing fewer minutes, 34.6, 47.6%, 52.7%, 113, .139. The number that really jumps out is his 3P%, which leads the league for all players who have attempted more than 50 threes. Mayo is actually 10th in the league in three point attempts with 93, so the high shooting percentage isn’t exactly a fluke. Obviously, the interesting part is going to be exactly how Mayo’s stats and efficiency are affected after Dirk comes back and gets into the full swing of things.