Tag Archives: Los Angeles Clippers

Lessons Learned From the West’s Round One Losers

Only eight teams remain in the NBA playoffs, and the teams that lost in the first round are left searching for answers, and wondering what might have been. Let’s take a look through the lessons we learned from their losses in Round 1.

Houston Rockets: Chemistry, You the Real MVP

This dysfunctional Rockets team had a promising season derailed by infighting, laziness, and a bad attitude overall. Last season, they were a top-ten team in DRtg, but this season their ranking has fallen all the way down to 21st.

During these playoffs, for the first time ever, the NBA is tracking hustle stats. In other words, it’s capturing the little things that players and teams do that don’t show up in the box score but are still valuable nonetheless.

Over their five playoff games (a sample that can’t be trusted due to its small size and the Rockets’ opponent being solely Golden State), the Rockets’ hustle stats were abysmal, showing up in the bottom quartile of playoff teams for over half of the statistics tracked.

Combining that overall lack of enthusiasm with the toxic locker room (rumors surfaced that Harden and Howard each tried to get the other traded away a couple of years ago), it’s no wonder that the Curry-less Warriors were able to dispatch these Rockets with ease.

Memphis Grizzlies: Don’t Start Jordan Farmar in the Playoffs (Or Ever)

Jordan Farmar was Memphis’ starting point guard during their four-game sweep at the hands of the Spurs. With Marc Gasol and Mike Conley injured, Jeff Green traded, and other absences, there’s nothing that the Grizz could have done to avoid their defeat against a historically great team. Let’s move on.

Dallas Mavericks: Get a Few Decent Teammates For Dirk 

Two of the guys who suited up alongside Dirk for the Mavs’ Game 5 loss to the Thunder were Justin Anderson and Raymond Felton. That’s not good.

Yeah, Chandler Parsons and Deron Williams were both out with injuries, but neither of them is likely to be back next season as each has a player option. Even worse, Dallas doesn’t have a first round pick this season thanks to last season’s disastrous trade for Rajon Rondo.

At this point, Mark Cuban has very few avenues through which to acquire talent to pair with Nowitzki. No wonder Dirk opted out of his contract next season. He says he doesn’t plan to leave, and it’d be a major surprise if he did, but he’s making a point to his franchise. Unfortunately for Nowitzki, Cuban won’t be able to learn this lesson from this season’s playoff defeat, even if he wanted to.

Los Angeles Clippers: Sacrifice More Cattle to the Injury Gods

Everyone thinks that injuries are part of the game, and that they’re often unavoidable. But really, it’s clear that the Clippers could have easily prevented the injuries their two stars sustained. They just didn’t sacrifice enough cattle to the Injury Gods.

You’d think that this kind of cheapness would have disappeared after notorious cheapskate Donald Sterling was removed as owner of the team. Steve Ballmer is the richest owner in the NBA–he shouldn’t have any problems with buying enough animals to give over the Injury Gods, but somehow, he did. It’s surprising that the obscenely wealthy Ballmer keeps on sustaining major injuries in the playoffs, while Sterling rarely had any playoff runs adversely affected by injures. Admittedly, the Clippers under Sterling almost never got to the playoffs, but still.

All jokes aside, just like Memphis, there’s little Los Angeles could have done. It’s not like Derrick Rose’s torn ACL, where Tom Thibodeau left him in the game, as the first seed in the playoffs, up by twelve points with ninety seconds left in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. These injuries seem to keep on happening to the Clippers, but without any problem they can solve (past encasing Griffin and Paul in bubble wrap), they’ll just have to wait until next year and hope that no one gets injured.

Notes From Wizards-Clippers

I’m in DC right now, and a couple of nights ago, I took the opportunity to see the Wizards square off against the Clippers in the Verizon Center. Here a few observations from the game.

There were a couple of strange things that occurred during the game. For instance, at one point in the second half, plastic cows attached to mini parachutes were dropped from the rafters. Why? I think it had something to do with a Chick-Fil-A promotion, but honestly, I’m not sure.

The halftime show was immensely enjoyable. A pair of goals were set up at the free throw lines and a three on three game of soccer was held. The fun part was that, since each player was encased in a plastic bubble, it was impossible to get hurt, so the game was spent watching the players ram into one another. Always a pleasurable experience.

During the pregame warmups, I had a good time watching Josh Smith practice his free-throw shooting. Sorry Josh, even sinking sixty free throws in a row won’t make up for this travesty:

The game itself wasn’t overly exciting. Despite the absence of Blake Griffin, the Wizards were unable to take a single lead. The Clippers opened up the game on a 13-2 run and didn’t look back.

Cole Aldrich, of all people, had a solid game. He produced thirteen points, six rebounds, three assists, four steals, and a block over twenty minutes. Aldrich’s main contributions to the game were the four times he tried and failed to throw down a big dunk, leading to plenty of taunts from the stands.

DeAndre Jordan was particularly entertaining for a couple of reasons. One, whenever he has a big dunk, he hangs on the rim for a moment, letting his lengthy limbs loose:


Two, Jordan has a magnificent deer-in-the-headlights look whenever he goes to the free throw line. On his first two attempts, his anxiety, nervousness, and dread were plain to see:

As expected, he missed those free throws, although he rallied to make three of his next four to finish the night with a solid three of six at the line.

Throughout the night, the Wizards were discombobulated on offense. There were many possessions that ended late in the shot clock with a contested heave from John Wall. Even when a Wizard had a wide open three-pointer, more often than not, the shot clanked off the rim.

There was one notable near-achievement from a Wizards player: Jared Dudley, a starter, nearly earned a thirteen trillion. He played thirteen minutes, and recorded a grand total of zero points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and fouls. The only thing keeping Dudley from a historic performance was one measly turnover. Alas. Better luck next time, Jared.

It’s indicative that I talked more about the sideshows, both literal and figurative, from the parachuting cows to DeAndre Jordan’s gangly legs, than about the game itself. I guess it was just that kind of night.

Still, despite the uncompetitive game, I had a good time, and it certainly was a…

This article can also be found at Jock Journal.

Which Games Should You Watch on Christmas?

On Christmas Day, us fans of the NBA have a serious conundrum. There’s basketball for thirteen hours straight, which is great, but we also have familial obligations and the like. For those of you who can only escape your family for a game or two, here’s a guide to determining which games you should watch and which ones you shouldn’t.

Miami Heat vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Watch if you like: Freakishly long arms, all-lefty lineups, aging stars,  unibrows, imagining what Young Kristaps will be like in three years, having a quick snooze before the good games start.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Chicago Bulls

Watch if you like: Teams still finding their identities, power struggles, Enes Kanter’s bushy eyebrows, discontented players, Steven Adam’s fake-looking mustache, ex-college coaches in their first season in the NBA, Bobby Portis sitting on the bench, Dion Waiters hoisting up awful shots that miss by a mile.

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Watch if you like: Games with history behind them, unstoppable pick-and-rolls, superduperstars, injured players returning, going small, raucous home crowds, great basketball, ridiculous displays of shooting from Steph Curry, ridiculous displays of athleticism from LeBron James, Iman Shumpert’s hair, JR Smith hoisting up awful shots that somehow go in.

Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs

Watch if you like: Spectacular wing defense, Hack-a-Howard, intra-state rivalries, Spursgasms, foreign players, beards, dazzling sequences of passing, free throws, lefty shooting guards with Eurosteps.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Watch if you like: Kobe Bryant missing shots, thunderous dunks, Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan alley-oops, young studs against in-their-prime superstars, brutal blowouts, watching the last quarter and a half played by scrubs.