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Lob City Highlight of the Night
There were plenty of high-flying dunks and ankle-breaking crossovers from the Clippers during their last two games, but I am a sucker for hustle plays…
After two games of atrocious shooting, the Clippers returned to form against the Lakers and Warriors by shooting above 50.0 percent in each game to win the battle for California. The biggest improvement from that ugly loss to the Warriors was the deep ball defense: the Clippers held the Lakers to 24.0 percent and the Warriors to 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.
The Clippers also closed out the Warriors game much better than the Lakers game by maintaining a double digit lead all the way through. The Lakers, on the other hand, were down 20 points with 10 minutes left in the game and brought it with in two. Then Chris Paul decided to break Kobe’s ankles, sink a dagger step back jumper, and the Clippers were starting another win streak.
Majority of the credit for the quick turnaround belongs to the two young leaders of the Clippers. Blake Griffin, after posting single digit game scores in the previous two games, improved by 10 points and averaged a game score of 18.3 in the two wins. He also improved his shooting; he shot 27.3 percent in the two losses and 60.7 percent in the two wins. Chris Paul, between the late game heroics against the Lakers and season-high Game Score (31.8) against the Warriors, elevated his game to another level. A level he will need to remain at late in the season and throughout the playoffs for the Clippers to have a shot at the Finals.
Tonight, the Clippers take on 13-22 Mavericks, who they blew out by 22 points about a month ago. Since then, the Mavericks have gotten better and worse at the same time. Better because Dirk Nowitzki is back and is slowly playing more minutes every time, even logging 30+ minutes each of their last two games (although both were losses). Worse because they are 2-14 in their last 16 games. They have also free fallen in the rankings all the way down to 23rd for offensive efficiency and 24th for defensive efficiency.
Lastly, Dallas has a huge disadvantage in the turnover department. They rank in the bottom half of the league with 14.0 percent turnover percentage, while the Clippers lead the league with 378 steals which equates to 16.8 percent turnover percentage on defense. As a result, I fully expect this game to be just as bad, if not worse, as their meeting a month ago.
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