Los Angeles Clippers Stat Monkey Brief: Clippers/Celtics (2/3/13)

Can the Clippers turn it around after getting the Rudy treatment?

This may be the funniest thing we see in a basketball game all year.

Quick Recap

First of all a note to myself, never trust those little notes on ESPN, because they said that Rudy Gay still had to pass a physical and will not make his debut on Friday. He not only made his debut, he had a phenomenal game coming off the bench contributing 20 points on 50.0 percent shooting.

On paper this looked like a blowout, and it was, just not by the team that you would expect. The Clippers could not buy a shot all night and shot just 34.7 percent from the field. The Raptors, on the other hand, who are one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the league managed to shoot 46.2 percent from long range. As a result the Clippers’ two game win streak came to a screeching halt at about half time of that game.

Tonight’s Game

The Clippers travel to Boston to take on the 23-23 Celtics. The Clippers who, after losing Rondo for the year, are on a three game win streak and are doing it the old fashion way with defense. They rank 6th in the league in defensive efficiency and have held their last 3 opponents under a 100 points. In fact they have only given up 100 points or more three times in January. Now that they lost Jared Sullinger for the season, however, who was their second best defensive player behind Garnett it is going to be interesting what adjustments they make. Here comes Fab Melo, maybe...

As for the Clippers, well they need Chris Paul back to provide some consistency and leadership on the floor. They are 5-4 without Paul this season. Those nine games have ranged from a 26 point win against the Grizzlies to a 25 point loss to the Raptors. The Clippers have all the tools to be successful, but they need Paul to lead them and bring it all together.

Tonight the key for Clippers will be their ability to execute the half-court offense, which everyone has been questioning even with Paul in the lineup. Also, Boston plays at one of the slowest paces in the league (19th) and they do not grab offensive rebounds (29th in offensive rebound rate) which means the Clippers have to be that much more effective in the half court because they will not get many fast break opportunities. And they will most likely need to shoot better than 34.7 percent from the field to pull out a win.