Preview & Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

Kurt —  November 5, 2008


Records: Lakers 3-0 Clippers 0-4
Offensive ratings: Lakers 110.7 Clippers 91.8
Defensive ratings: Lakers 88 Clippers 116.4
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Clippers Baron Davis, Cuttino Mobley, Al Thorton, Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman

Lakers notes: First things first, Bynum is fine and will play tonight. Apparently he tweaked his shoulder Monday trying to block a Chris Mihm shot in practice, but it was nothing serious.

Along the lines of the most recent post here about the Lakers defense, some people suggested what the Lakers are doing is similar to what Boston did last year. However, Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus broke down what the Celts did in a post last year and when I bounced the thought off him he said they are different. The Celtics defense is far more traditional, he said, adding that they didn’t do much different than most teams, they just did it far better. The Celtics did very little trapping, while the Lakers new defense seeks to punish ballhanders who go near the trap.

Can the Lakers contain Baron Davis tonight with that defense? It will be one big thing to watch.

The Clippers Coming In: The Clippers finally have the lineup they hoped to have at the start of the season — with Baron Davis at the point and Marcus Camby at the four — healthy and ready to go against the Lakers.

Having Camby back may help the Clippers with their biggest problem so far — giving up points in the paint. So far this season 45% of opposing team’s baskets came close to the basket (for comparison, just 34% of baskets against the Lakers are in close). As is fairly obvious, the closer to the basket you shoot the more likely that the ball goes in.

Kaman is a capable defender inside, but he has gotten no help so far. In the fourth quarter two nights ago, Tim Thomas drew the assignment of the young and energetic Paul Millsap, and Millsap destroyed him — 15 consecutive points, five boards (three offensive) and a +13 for the quarter. Millsap dominated Thomas in the paint, which brings us back to the point above.

However, as Kevin from Clippersblog points out, there were stretches in the second quarter where you got what Clipper fans have hoped for — good spacing and Camby “lording over the paint.” This team is just starting to get healthy, it is starting to show flashes of what it could be.

The problem is, in the West, there is no time to wait until January to figure out what kind of team you are and then hit your stride in the playoffs. Get too far behind in this conference and you will never catch up.

Last Meeting: In the second game of the season, Baron Davis helped the Clippers to a solid start, and the game was close through the first quarter and a half. But, midway through the second, the Lakers went on a 17-0 run (largely with a lineup of Farmar, Ariza, Kobe, Gasol and Bynum), and never looked back. The Lakers won 117-79. It was a complete blowout with seven Lakers scoring in double digits.

Keys To The Game: Last meeting the Lakers had big play inside — Bynum outplayed Kaman and Gasol had a big night against Thomas — and the Lakers should probe inside again. The Lakers dominated the boards and that needs to happen as well.

Camby is a good help defender but his on-ball defense is average. The Lakers, with Pau, should go at him, get Camby in foul trouble and make him work on the defensive end. Also, when he does try to come and help on Bynum or on penetration, look for Pau who should be open.

Through four games the Clippers have been the worst shooting team in the NBA, at just 40.9% (eFG%) and the Lakers need to keep them out of the paint and shooting jumpers. That means not turning the ball over and getting back in transition so as not to let Davis have room in the open court.

In the half court sets, don’t bring a guy to the strong side off Camby around the elbow, that guy is reliable out to 18 feet. The problem is what they like to run is Davis driving off a Kaman pick, Kaman rolling to the basket, a shooter (Mobley) in the corner and Davis driving the lane. It gives Baron a lot of options, so the Lakers need to play that pick and roll well.

Where you can watch: Here in LA you can watch the Lakers broadcast of Fox Sports Net or the underrated Clipper broadcast team on Channel 5 (which now has some convoluted name involving networks nobody watches). No national broadcast, so it’s League Pass or streaming video for the rest of you.

Kurt

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57 responses to Preview & Chat: The Los Angeles Clippers

  1. Does anyone know if Laker games are televized in San Diego? I’m here on business (from Chicago) and haven’t gotten my League Pass set up yet, so it’d be great if I could somehow catch the game tonight.

    Go Lakers!

  2. League pass is free until 11/11. If you know the channel it’s on in your area, you should be able to watch it. They are also offering it online.

    Continuing from the last post, this is a great photo story. Pic 10 is of our Pres-elect driving to the basket for a layup with Chris Duhon and other Duke players. I loved that he plays bball to relax as it was part of his routine yesterday in prep for the final count. simply awesome.

    http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/11/the_next_president_of_the_unit.html

  3. This game worries me for some reason. The Clips are gonna bring it tonight.

  4. Going to this game tonight.

    I’m with Sharky, I think the Clippers are FINALLY going to have a good game. There is too much pride among the new Clippers (not sure how much pride is left on any extended stay Clippers these days) to not try and get back at the Lakers for that absolute slaughter last week. The long lay-off also worries me a little bit, especially with another long break and Houston/Dallas/NO/Detroit looming.

    If there is 1 thing this Laker squad has proved to me the last couple of years it’s not to doubt them, though. Hopefully we come out strong and healthy for the start of a rough stretch.

  5. I’m with sharky but I just think it’ll be a nice build up game for us before the rockets. The clip’s will bring it tonight, it’ll be a closer game just cause they want revenge for the blowout (i mean look how we are with the celtics) but we’ll still pull it out i think.

    Hey even if we don’t, it’s a wake up call in time for the rockets right? But i have faith in the guys, they’ll take the W tonight.

  6. LakerFan in Philly November 5, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    where can i stream the game online?

  7. Re: strongside zone

    I just got through watching (via league pass broad band, yeah!) the Nets and Suns . Both teams were playing an out-right 2-3 zone for most of the 3rd quarter. It looked like a college game. This zone was not aggressive and easily shredded by quick ball movement and some penetration. The lakers D is more sophisticated than that. Two of the glaring weaknesses have been ameliorated: high pick and roll from the strong side and one-on-one post defense by Pau. I’d still like to see how the D stops the iso or pnr from the top of the key extended.

    The combination of the strongside zone on D and triangle offense on O opens up a unique opportunity for the Lakers down the line. A potential lineup without a traditional point guard.

    I think that Trevor, Sasha, or even Luke could start instead of Fish. With Kobe and Gasol, play making would not suffer. The unit would create match up nightmares. (Who is CP3 going to guard?)

    On D the combination of the strongside zone, weak side help and the ability to switch on every pick on the perimeter would be a hard nut for any offense to crack.

    On the pick n rolls, the weakside help would be a much taller defender than Fish.

    I don’t expect to see a different starting line-up this year but perhaps such a sans-PG crew might see some PT one day in the near future.

    Lets hope the clips really challenge the Lakers. They need to get defensive boards and get transition baskets.

    Unfortunately, when Baron Davis penetrates and kicks out, instead of Barnes, Harrington, Jackson, and Ellis, he really only has Steve Novack and Eric Gordon.

  8. If you guys want to watch the game tonight…
    http://stoogetv.com/
    That site has a live feed for pretty much all games tonight.

  9. I think the best way to beat the Clippers is to take away, or limit/contain, Baron Davis’ second scoring options. Guys like Al Thornton and Kaman, and to a lesser extent the backup wings. None of these players are consistently good enough offensively to work around heavy defensive pressure, they can be gotten at and it will put a huge amount of pressure on the Clips.

    The Clippers offense is too weak and vulnerable to lose it’s supporting acts. They’re easy work when Davis isn’t getting help offensively.

  10. 7. You’re right about not needing a traditional PG. Fisher makes sense to start right now, because he’s spreading the floor with his range when the starters are in, and I think the quicker second team’s game doesn’t suit him much. But you are definitely right all we need is one guys to bring the ball up the floor and some passers. Gasol and Odom can both pass from the paint, and Luke Walton is a pretty good passer too. Love it!

  11. David St. Hubbins November 5, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    1. Welcome to SD! If you can’t get league pass, the game will be on regular cable on FSN.

    One of the major differences between the Laker’s D and Celtic’s D is that the Lakers depend on speed and length to rotate, recover, trap, and get into passing lanes. The Celtic’s D relies more on brute physicality than speed and athleticism. They just beat on you the whole game. One of my only concerns with the current roster is that the Lakers lack of an enforcer (PJ Brown, Garnett, Perkins, Big Baby, etc weren’t out there making a lot of friends). I’m not saying the Lakers need to be dirty, but they could use a guy who can lay down the law when appropriate (think back to Mo Lucas or someone like that). Who knows, maybe Bynum or Powell is that guy. They may not even need it.

  12. Going back to the discussion from the previous thread, I bet the mayor of Sacramento could beat the POTUS Elect on the court. Not trying to be controversial. Just sayin.

    The worst president at hoops? William Howard Taft.

  13. It’s not fair to judge people from different eras against each other – you need to just compare them to their peers. Pretty clearly, Lincoln was the best baller of them all.

  14. I heard FDR tore it up in wheelchair basketball.

  15. Mike in the Mountain West November 5, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    I’m a little confused by stoogetv layout. Where are the games and how do I know where the lakers game will be?

  16. @1, Matt M. The Laker game is being televised in San Diego on Fox Sports West.

  17. Well this makes the third lame matchup of the year. Hopefully the Clippers can at least offer some resistance so the Lakers can improve and keep me awake. My prediction Lakers by 28 with the bench getting huge minutes. Baron Davis goes out for the season sometime in the third quarter.

  18. @ 15, Mike. I usually click on the “channels” tab at the top. on the channels page click “other chs” and if the game has started, it should be on the list.

  19. BD is one of the leagues genuine good guy, and I for one
    wish him nothing but excellent health. The Clippers will be far more competitive tonight, this much I predict because BD will accept nothing less from his team!

  20. Also on Channelsurfing.net

  21. Game kind of starting the same way as the first meeting with them did.

  22. Pleased with the Lakers so far, but front court defense needs to be aggressive. Let Bynum, Odom, and Gasol earn the big bucks!!

  23. Yo this is a sick stream right here
    http://www.justin.tv/lasn1

  24. What the hell is Farmar thinking? 22 seconds on the clock and he tries to run a 1-on-3 fast break????

  25. Make shots.

  26. Bad break downs on defense.

  27. I’d like to see Pau Gasol look for his shots more in the second half. Bynum too.

  28. Word Hassan. There are some decent, um, commercial breaks.

  29. nice 2nd half start

  30. The Lakers defense and offense are very closely interlinked. They’re either hot on both sides of the floor, or kinda not there on both sides. You can’t do anything about missing shots, but that’s no reason to blow the defense. The Lakers need to keep the defense up, and with our line-up, the baskets will come themselves.

  31. ‘never saw a shot he didn’t like’, thats the Machine

  32. Is it just me or can you punch a guy in the face during the follow through on a 3 point jumper and it will still not be called?

  33. The Clippers are getting some freak bounce offensive boards.

  34. Who saw Skinner’s missed dunk?

  35. Why can’t they play defense like this all game?

  36. Why does Fish have the second-most FGA on the team?

  37. Lakers may end up missing as many FTs as the Clippers TAKE. The Clippers have stuffed the lane and we’ve finally stopped taking so many outside shots, so maybe it’s natural that we’d go to the line more. On the other hand, there have been 5-6 plays where a Clipper went to the rim and got stripped by the lakers in a way that could have been called. Maybe we spent all the pradctice time that most teams spend teaching the break learning how to strip cleanly?

    Anyways, it’s good to see them fight through as thick a fog as they could be in.

  38. I can’t begin to imagine what the game must have looked like from the box score.

    45FT? sub 40% FG? team best assist is 3? Pau scores 9 pts? Fisher attempting the second most FGs? Sasha basically not hitting anything? Bynum with 4 blks and 17 rebounds (where was camby?)

    I guess our defense must’ve worked more or less since they’re held to less than 40%…

    … and does anyone know if I can download the games from someplace?

  39. Sure, it took three and a half quarters for the Lakers’ offense to finally click, but I honestly wouldn’t call this game an ugly win. The score may have been tight right up until that blistering 22-0 run, but I never once felt disappointed in the effort being put forth by our guys … a low shooting percentage and a ridiculous number of missed free throws were the only things keeping us from pulling away, and it just felt like an inevitability that we’d eventually slip into that next gear and slam the door shut.

    It’s very encouraging to see us winning in a variety of ways and not just on the nights when we’re scoring efficiently. Lots of positives to note, including the fact that this was the third straight game where our rebounding advantage was at least +10. Drew in particular looked great out there, really controlling the paint with his 17 boards and 4 blocked shots.

  40. Harold,
    NBA League Pass Broadband is free until next Tuesday. If you go there and sign up for the free trial, the game should be archived.

  41. 40 Darius – Thanks but it seems that me putting ‘south korea’ as the region prevents me from accessing that service (at least the free trial).

    And the archived games are only up for 24 hours… which may not be that bad but urgh. Hate it how games are at 11 am – 3pm ish but I guess that’s something i have to live with :(

  42. T34- How was the vibe at Staples tonight? Seemed pretty subdued on TV for a Lakers/Clips game.

  43. Well I was kinda right!
    Great game again tonight it’s great to be a laker fan right now. Ariza is really showing the League just how good he is nowadays another two sick highlights on top of a great game off the bench. Bynum matching a career high in rebounds and some vicious blocks. Kobe did some incredible things tonight too, hey basically the entire team. Perhaps my favourite line however was Lamar. 15 pts, 9 boards, 3 steals, 2 blocks. That’s what we could use everynight.

    Well time to go into hibernation now right laker fans? No more games until SUNDAY god I only just finished waiting ages for a game to be on again :-(

  44. From the box score, it was an ugly win. Maybe it is… Now lets get ready for Houston.

    Jane Fonda said it best…
    “Lets get Physical!”

  45. Warren,
    That was Olivia Newton-John

  46. This Clippers roster looks like it could be pretty good. Nice that the Lakers caught them twice in the first week of the season.

  47. Did Phil pull Bynum out right after his 17th rebound so he couldn’t get a career high?

  48. That was an odd game. I was worried there in the fourth quarter … then comes that big run that killed off the game.

    Clippers are improving, starting to find their feet now.

    I thought Andrew Bynum was superb in the paint. He dominated the glass and altered lots of shots. I liked how he attacked Marcus Camby in the post whenever Camby was guarding him too, smart play.

    Good game

  49. For 42 – Sharky

    I was there last night. The crowd was very subdued. I think it had more to do with our offense than anything. Plus it was a very physical, defensive game.

  50. 42 sharky – despite all the lead changes, the atmosphere at Staples was subdued like you saw through TV. It’s crazy, I didn’t even realize until after coming home that the LakeShow had put up a 22-0 run. They managed to do it so effortlessly and everyone in the building seemed to expect the winning outcome. They did do a cool purple/gold streamer explosion when the game buzzer rang (something I didn’t see them do last year). Kinda off topic, but they gave out very cool JITB sponsered “We want tacos!” shirts to everyone at the game! (OK, not super cool, but I like my free Lakers merch and have always wanted something taco chant related).

    Our offense is still not firing on all cylinders; on the other hand, our defense is swarming and delivers in the form of low field goal percentages. The Lakers now have the 2nd best offense at 105.8 ppg (PHX 106.4 ppg), 2nd best defense with opponents 85 ppg (ATL 84 ppg), and 2nd best opponents field goal percentage at 39.26% (BOS 37.62%).

    And all this is while our offense is out of sync with sub par 43.51% field goal percentage for 20th in the association. Imagine what we’ll do in mid-season form with the ‘new look’ triangle clicking. Good teams should be able to put away weaker teams with ease by applying pressure when necessary. That’s exactly what the Lakers did last night.

    They also conformed with what I consider to be good, competitive basketball by not falling by more than 6 points in any quarter. In fact, the Lakers had almost exactly the type of line I’d like to see (change the minuses to pluses in the first two quarters):

    Q1 : -2
    Q2 : -2
    Q3 : +8
    Q4 : +14

    They’ll need lots of gritty performances, like the one last night, against weaker teams if they expect to win 60+ games (which I think they’re perfectly capable of). It’s not always going to come easy; sometimes is going to take beating teams on the fundamentals: +10 reb (54-44), drawing 32 personal fouls resulting in 32-45 free throws (compared with 10-15 for the Clippers on 17 fouls).

  51. Looking at the scores of all the games last night, it’s interesting to see so many players have amazing games and numbers, LB, TP, AS, and others including some rooks. Makes me wonder what was so different yesterday? Do you think there was some sort of change or inspiration that may have motivated their game?

  52. Gee Anonymous, you don’t think the players were ‘sky high’ about anything in particular, do you?

  53. I think Tony Parker is on a team lacking depth that went into two overtimes. Not sure how much “inspiration’ was involved.

  54. And Amare was playing a Pacers team with a paper thin front line.

  55. I’m not sure if anything motivated these guys to any something extraordinary, but they played lights out. Parker was simply amazing. He shot 22-36 (including 2-3 from 3pt range), went 9-10 from the line, grabbed 7 rebs, and dished out 10 assists. He also buried a clutch 20 ft. jumper with 2 seconds to force the 2nd overtime. I know that Minny doesn’t have a guy to guard him, but still…he killed them and put up a line and a performance that this league has rarely seen, ever.

    And as for Amare, he is a beast on offense. I’ve never seen a player that can elevate and finish inside like him. He takes the hit from a defender and still banks in 6 footers. He dunks on your head. He misses short shots and then jumps again so quickly that he’s finishing his own misses like it’s a lay up line. Add to that his improved 18ft. jumper and he’s a mix of young Shawn Kemp (crazy athlete) and the aging Karl Malone (who could hit that jumper). I know that Amare plays for the hated Suns, but he is spectacular.

  56. “you don’t think the players were ’sky high’ about anything in particular, do you?”

    What about the players on the opposing teams? Doesn’t a rising tide float all boats?