Los Angeles Clippers Stat Monkey Brief: Clippers/Suns (1/24/13)

The Gang of 5 has been without a healthy Chris Paul for a while. And as a result, their perimeter defense has taken a hit.

Lob City Highlight of the Night

After a two game hiatus I probably should have a Clippers highlight, but this is just too pretty.

Quick Recap

The Clippers are 7-5 in the month of January after that phenomenal December, which we should probably stop talking about. During this stretch they have played three sets of back-to-back games in which they are 2-4. Five of those six games have been against playoff teams, with the sixth team being the Lakers. What I am trying to say is that while the 7-5 for the month mark does not look great on paper, it has been a brutal stretch, and there have been some quality wins like the Warriors and Grizzlies.

The kryptonite for the Clippers these past two games has been the same as in most of their previous losses: perimeter defense. The Warriors shot the lights out with 54.5 percent (12-22) from beyond the arc, while the Thunder had the announcers screaming “THEY’RE ON FIRE!” with 55.6 percent (15-27). Combine that with the Warriors and Thunder having a 34 percent and 14 percent advantages from the charity stripe, respectively, and it is going to be hard to win those games.

In fact, the Clippers rank 26th in the league in free throw shooting with 71.2 percent, which is going to make it a lot harder to win the playoffs. All of the last four NBA champions have ranked in the top half of the league in free throwing shooting, with Miami and Dallas ranking in the top eight. Last team that I remember that won a championship with a liability from the free throw line was Shaq’s Lakers.

Tonight’s Game

Tonight, the Clippers travel to Phoenix to take on the 13-28 (potentially 13-29) Suns who are playing a back-to-back set of their own… granted it is after a week off, but still. The Clippers have already beaten the Suns twice this season by a combined 44 points. Even without Chris Paul, who is out indefinitely at the moment, the Clippers have more than enough weapons to put the Suns away early.

The terrible perimeter defense should not be an issue tonight for the Clippers, since the Suns rank 28th from long range, so look for this game to be over by halftime and for the Clippers’ starters to get some much-needed rest.

Shameless Plug

Just because the Clippers aren’t good at collecting charity points doesn’t mean you have to be terrible as well. So sign up for our daily emails and improve your fundamentals of fantasy basketball.