Snips and clips from the Clipper camp, plus:
- The "Free Throw Guy" is Stuffed
- Pinwheel Empire
- Haiku Game Review
- Fried Rice
- Blazers/Clippers Recap
- Popcorn Machine
Los Angeles Clippers v. Portland Trail Blazers [Preview]
by Breene Murphy, Clipper Blog (TrueHoop)
There is no team in the league that has had worse luck with injuries than the Portland Trail Blazers. Sure, the Clippers have been a team that can bemoan Kaman and Baron's time on the sideline, and in the past it's been bad, but the Blazers have lost expansive swathes of playing time from Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Marcus Camby (the latest), and Joel "Vanilla Gorilla" Pryzbilla, just to name a few. They still have young stud Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Rudy Fernandez, LaMarcus Aldridge and the stalwart point guard Andre Miller. It's a testament to the talent that Kevin Pritchard corralled, that even with all of these injuries the team can just keep winning (6-4 in their last 10).
And while they will grumble about the loss of the superstar Brandon Roy, the team might be better off without him this year, considering the shape of his knees, the way he was playing and, most importantly, his frequent scuttlebutts with Andre Miller. Both players are playmakers, but Roy had already begun to fall off from his normal high efficiency. He was averaging a career low 14.9 PER, due to his career low shooting percentage (39.9 percent), rebounding (3.0) and assists (3.3). Wesley Matthews isn't averaging much better numbers than that (15.1 PER, 15.8 points, 43.4 percent shooting, 3.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists), but he removes the controversy with Miller and can play better defense because his knees allow it. * * *
posted by Dump Davis to Clipper Blog preview comments section
* * *
Davis has adopted his new "least bad mode" since the public spectacle of his being heckled by Sterling, along with several solid weeks before that of his being called out in the press by other Clipper players and by the media. Clearly, it finally sunk into him that he no longer could get away with the dog-mode act he'd been putting on for over two years here. So he backed off of that. That's about all he's done.
He still has huge weaknesses. He's still a bad shooter and still shoots too much, though less than he use to. He's still a terrible defender and opposing point guards still torch him on a regular basis. He still often disintegrates in the second half. He's still way overpaid and is a huge crimp in any effort to sign a good free agent.
There's no doubt the Clippers recent winning ways are for two main reasons: one reason is the play of Griffin and Gordon, and the other reason is it's been the softest few weeks in the season.
There's also no doubt Davis is trying to change his image, which was terrible. But he's still Davis. He won't fundamentally change. Watch him for the next six weeks.
posted by Brian Ahmed to Clips Nation postgame thread
Forget about the dream 8th seed.
What could've been a 4 game deficit is now 8 games for the 8th seed... I just wanna see this team make more strides and finish strong.
I'll take 35 wins at this point it still will be an improvement over the last 3 years.
posted by mattfish to RealGM Clippers message board
Blazers showing great teamwork with composed and confident play to close out the game. Hope the Clippers can close out games like this after some more experience on the road.
Blake is playing a little out of control and needs to mature his game a little bit when the game slows down. The only reason we stayed in this game is because of EJ's great 2nd half effort.
posted by TheNewEra to RealGM Clippers message board
I want a freaking rematch right now!
I have a new found respect for Aldridge. The guy deserves to be a All-Star.
posted by clippermitch to RealGM Clippers message board
This loss was disappointing especially with the way we started the game. We need to close out quarters better.
By the way, I'm not really sure why DJ wasn't in the game. Once we cut the lead to 3, DJ should have been put in the game. Miller wouldn't have had such a wide open layup!
Blake is amazing and I'm a big fan but he needs to play better D!
by Clipper Steve Perrin, Clips Nation (SBN)
When the Clippers jumped out to a 16-2 lead at the start of this game, it seemed like everything was falling into place for them. The Blazers were shorthanded, they had gone to overtime the night before, and maybe they just weren't going to be able to handle the youth and athleticism of the Clippers on this night.
Unfortunately, the game got a lot tougher for the Clippers in a hurry. The Blazers roared back to tie the game at 23, took the lead just before halftime, and never trailed again. * * *
But give the Blazers credit. Defensively, they did as good a job on Blake Griffin as anyone has in months. They defended him with length, stayed in front of him, and ran double teams at him that bothered him. Rather than push too aggressively against him and let him spin off to get to the rim, they just held their ground and stayed vertical to bother his shots.
Blake still tries to make things happen that really aren't there; if defenders overcommit to his moves, he can get to the line, get his own misses, or sometimes even finish improbable moves. The Blazers defenders (primarily Aldridge) just held their ground and kept him out of the lane — he became frustrated too easily and tried to create something out of nothing too often.
It was very reminiscent of the Lakers game — only in that one he eventually broke through. The result tonight was a lot of ugly missed shots (he was 6 for 17) and 5 turnovers. Blake still managed 20 points and 18 rebounds (tying his season high). He's never really going to stop working hard. But the Blazers' defense really managed to confound the rookie phenom like few teams have. * * *
posted by Ghost Ride to Clips Nation postgame recap
After being up 16-2, the Blazers outscored us by 29. Thought Steve Kerr made a good point about our struggles in scoring in the half court.
On defense, we didn't have a clue. They used picks very well and moved the ball even better. Their hottest guy would often find himseld wide open by the end of it.
Aldridge gave Griffin a serious slice of humble pie tonight. Very impressed.
Proud of EJ for having such a good game in a tough environment... if Griffin plays a little better it would've been interesting, but as it was this was a thorough beatdown. It seems like no teams dissect us quite like the Jazz and the Blazers.
by Breene Murphy, Clipper Blog (TrueHoop)
For the third time, the Clippers couldn't win more than three games in a row. It upheld to more than that pattern though, the Clippers started strong again, beating the Blazers 27-23 in the first before they crumpled in the second and third quarters, surged in the fourth (twice) and then collapsed terribly down the stretch. * * *
* Eric Gordon had a doozy of a game on offense tonight. 35 points on 13 for 26 shooting, 7 for 11 behind the arc, 5 rebounds, 4 assists. * * *
* Clipper wings could not defend. Gordon or Foye, didn't matter, Wesley Matthews went off for 28 points on 10 for 18 from the field and his backup Rudy Fernandez scored 17 points on 7 for 10 shooting. They ran multiple screens for Matthews, not particularly tight ones (and he's no Reggie Miller or Ray Allen) and Matthews found plenty of open shots. Rudy made his points off of his slashing and open court hustle plays (one in the fourth was uniquely sloppy, involving the Clippers and the Blazers batting around the ball like a shuttlecock only to have Rudy pick up the ball and lay it in easily) making him a tough cover for the less athletic Randy Foye. * * *
posted by toohipcliptoslip to Clippers Top Buzz message board
I've said this a million times but only losers complain about the refs. Vinnie didn't get outcoached. Their game was "Anybody but Blake" Baron gave us unexpected points BUT if a team shuts down BG who except EJ is gonna score?
They packed the paint so he gouldn't get position. He got stripped a lot. Remember no matter how good (well for you English buffs) he plays he's still a rookie and there are holes in his game. For example he needs to work on his post moves and Portland obviously knew it and exploited it.
Would Kaman have helped? Maybe depending on how BG can pass from a double/triple team. Kaman could kill them inside. If DJ had one post move it would be suicide to triple BG. Why doesn't he have one? I've seem him do it.
We also have nothing from SF. Gomes is too streaky and arguably he cost us the game. We really need bench scoring. Butler is the invisible man. DJ was fine and as far as scoring, Clockwork Wallace for Detroit couldn't hit his foot. His defensive presence had to be respected just like DJ. * * *
by Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times
Apparently, all Eric Gordon needed was a rush of severe pain and major discomfort to break on through to the other side. It just wasn't enough for the Clippers to break through with a victory.
Gordon made a career-high seven three-point baskets on his way 35 points, but the Portland Trail Blazers pulled away for a 108-93 victory on Thursday night at the Rose Garden.
Gordon's effort came about 24 hours after he suffered a torn ligament in his right ring finger. * * *
"Portland is a good team. They're better than what you think," Gordon said. "We put it on ourselves. I still think they're a good team but we kind of lost that one by our defense." * * *
The Bottom Line:
1. That was a huge blow to the playoff chances for our guys. The Clips have been on a big roll and were making up ground fast, but this was a buzz saw in the brain...
2. LaMarcus Aldridge can play. Very nice.
3. Portland is a tough place to play and our guys were really tired in this one. Blake never quite got on track and Baron wasn't efficient. Jordan got in foul trouble and the Blazers played over their heads tonight.
* * *
It was another gorgeous afternoon, another glistening chapter in a magnum opus of perfect days on the Playa de Colcura. My new honey bunny pulled herself up onto her slender left elbow, resting her chin in her hand, her dark brown hair radiant in the sun. She smiled at me. I returned her mischievous glance and rolled onto my side, reaching for her across the blanket we had spread over the warm sand. I still wasn't quite sure why she had decided to abandon her boyfriend to the Oregon rain and to spend the summer in Chile with me, but I was glad. "Te amo," she purred, "te amo." We pulled each other together, skin touching skin, her scent.....
"Hey, Tim, did you catch this article?" Mighty Matt asked me, brandishing a recent issue of Sports Illustrated.
I'd rather have been on the beach with the hot chick in South America, but it was back to reality for me...
"Which article?" I replied.
"It's some thing called 'What's Really Behind Home Field Advantage?' in this last issue here."
"Nah, I haven't seen that yet," I answered. Late January and February is the slowest time in the shoe industry, there was plenty of time for those of us pretending to work to peruse magazine articles and stare off into space... (God, that brown-haired girl was sweet... Little wire-framed glasses, smart as hell, skinny and punky and cool and...)
"It's really interesting," declared Mighty Matt. "These guys have done research into what causes home teams to have winning advantages — 'across all sports and at all levels, from Japanese baseball to Brazilian soccer to the NFL.' It says that in the NBA almost 99% of teams have a better home record than their record on the road."
"Yeah, no doubt. That's because of all the travel and the back-to-back games they play. Visiting teams are always tired and in a high-energy sport like basketball that makes it pretty easy for them to be run out of the gym."
"It says here that that's not it," Matt answered. "At least that's not the big reason for home field advantage."
"Oh, that's complete crap! It's WELL documented, they've got websites that list the losing records of teams on back-to-backs and teams playing 4 games in 5 nights, and it's absolutely positively related to travel and tired legs..."
"Just listen!" Matt interjected, trying to keep me from going off on a full-throttle roar...
"BULL CRAP! I tell ya. BULL CRAP! If they say it's not related to that, they're full of it. Part of it has to do with the home crowd energizing the home team. Part of it has to do with the familiarity that a home team has with its own rims. But travel and tired legs is a HUGE factor, they get in at 3 in the morning sometimes and have to play again that same night..."
"LISTEN!" Matt fairly shouted, finally getting me to shut the hell up. "These dudes have done research, they say that's not it. It can't be the rims and it's really not the crowd. Check this out..."
Matt read a passage to me:
"Over the last two decades in the NBA, encompassing more than 23,000 games, the free throw percentage of visiting teams has been 75.9%, and that of home teams has been. . . . . 75.9%. Are these shooting percentages any different at different points in the game — say, during the fourth quarter or in overtime, when the score is tied? No. Even in close games, when home fans are trying their hardest to distract the opponents and exhort the home team, the percentages are identical."
"That's gonna be bad news for that 'Free Throw Guy' dumbass that has tickets behind the backboard at Blazer games!" I chimed in.
Matt's not a huge Blazer fan and I had to tell him about the certifiable goofus with his custom-made self-promotional shirts who acts like he's the Rose Garden's official Designated Free Throw Shot Distractor.
I believe in science and there is way, way, way more than enough evidence to indicate that scheduling, travel, and tired legs DO play a huge part in the results of NBA games. But if some guys were intense enough to have calculated percentages of free throw makes for 23,000 games and they say they're the same for home and away teams, early in the game or late in the game, then I'm man enough to admit that any ideas about home crowd distraction and familiarity with the characteristics of home building rims are wrong.
And, to be fair, the authors of the Sports Illustrated article, Tobias Moskowitz an Jon Wertheim, do acknowledge that the math indicates that NBA teams do lose, on average, "one or two" additional games on the road due to the negative effect of back-to-back games. But still, now I was curious... If it's not the crowd noise and it's not the rims and its really not the impact of travel (so they say), what exactly WAS the factor that caused such a disparity between home and away performance for NBA teams?
Ready for their answer?
Moskowitz and Wertheim write: "We've found that officials are biased, but not against the louts screaming epithets at them. They're biased for them — and the bigger the crowd, the worse the bias. In fact, officials' bias is the most significant contributing factor to home field advantage." [emphasis in original]
It's human nature to root, root, root for the home team, the authors argue. Those "homer calls" we think we are seeing on any given night in the NBA? A very real phenomenon. Referees are swayed and intimidated by the perceptions and exhortations of large crowds, universally, across all sports. It is human nature, so these students of the subject assert.
Well, do you want a takeaway from all this — other than the fact that it would be very, very good indeed to be on the beach in Chile in January with a sweet, young thing? Here it is: The "Free Throw Guy" is stuffed. Trying to distract opposing shooters by leaping around like a deranged idiot doesn't work, proven fact. If that gomer wants to help Our Blazers, what he needs to do is rechristen himself "Chain Saw Guy" and yell out intimidating things at the officials with a crazed look in his eyes, stuff like:
"I KNOW WHERE YOUR GRANDSON GOES TO SCHOOL, BAVETTA!!!"
"HAVE YOU PHONED YOUR WIFE LATELY, JAVIE?!?! YOU MIGHT WANT TO DO THAT!!!"
He needs to scream and moan and complain about every call and get other fans to do likewise.
That's what turns out to be actually effective...
* * *
I was having a hard time figuring what happened to the Blazers Edge Junk Drawer. Long the most popular part of the site in terms of raw number of posts, a recent decision by The Boss ruling Blazer-related topics out of bounds there seemed to have miraculously annihilated the entire institution. From 1500 or so daily posts to......... NOTHING?!? What the hell happened? Where did everyone go?!?!
Ah, call me slow, but I figured it out today. There's a new social-Blazer site in town: Pinwheel Empire — http://pinwheelempire.com/ I'm not 100% sure it was started in direct response to the so-called "Bedgish Inquisition," but it feels like that is the case. The live chat thread off the mainpage there certainly seems to have supplanted the place of the newly restricted Junk Drawer.
I joined Pinwheel Empire today and you should, too.
I see Sophia Brugato is posting stuff there, which probably explains why Bust-a-Bucket has been feeling like it's on its last legs of late. That's probably a great decision on her part, the new site feels vital and alive, whereas the old Bloguin network, of which Bust-a-Bucket is a part, feels like it's circling the drain. Her stuff is too good to waste unseen in a cul de sac of the Internets.
For what it's worth, it doesn't seem like Pinwheel Empire's existence has impacted Blazers Edge's traffic in the least this week... Which is as it should be — there is plenty of room for both.
* * *
Here comes Blake Griffin
Get ready for destruction!
Or not, so it seems
This was a TNT game, so Uncle Mike got to head downtown tonight for some 4 oz. beers...
Clippers 93 at Blazers 108.
January 20, 2011.
Blazers' record is now 24-20, the Clippers are 16-26.
1. I called a 28 point loss in this one. I've watched a bunch of Clipper games this season and I can certify that this team is hot. And big. And good. They had won 6 of their last 7 games coming in to this one... It took the Blazers nearly three minutes to score their first bucket, which seemed to indicate that my guess as to the order of the magnitude of the forthcoming slaughter was on the low side.
2. Four minutes in and the Clipper lead was 12. There's nothing like getting embarrassed on national TV.
3. The TNT announcers (Marvelous, Kerr, Fratello) noted that the young, exciting, under cap, deep Clippers are "what the Blazers were three years ago." I especially liked how Steve Kerr noted that the Blazers were "buying every first round pick" a few years back. Ha ha, not every first round pick — just yours, Stevey boy, just yours.
4. A Wesley 3, a steal and a run out bucket, and the Blazers were back in the hunt. Steve Kerr gives a Ricean stat that the Clips are "29th in ball security." Hmmm, where do you find that "ball security" stat???
5. The Blazers put a 12-0 run on the Clips to tie things up inside of one minute. But a Griffin dunk, a Blazer turnover, and a putback bucket and the visitors were up by 4. END OF THE FIRST QUARTER: LAC 27, PDX 23.
6. Kerr on Portland's knee injuries: "At what point do you blame the weather?"
7. Kerr on Greg Oden: "Thirty teams would have taken Greg Oden first — it was unanimous among front offices."
8. Joel Przybilla being utterly unable to box out DeAndre Jordan was just plain sad. It was nice that Joel got an easy tip on the other end. Pryzzy has been giving sufficient performances the couple games that I reckon he'll be able to stay in the league as a 3rd Center if he wants to do that. I saw today that he's mulling retirement though.
9. Blake Griffin is at least 2 inches shorter than LMA. His free throw shooting is improving, he was pretty damned bad early in the year but he started this game 5-for-6. Kerr: "He has nice touch, eventually I think he'll be a 70 or 75% shooter."
10. Wesley and Rudy were great in the first half. Wesley put the Blazers ahead for the first time with a longball at the 2:50 mark of the 2nd Quarter. Kerr had an interesting home vs. away scoring split for Rudy, definitely something to investigate further in the future. HALFTIME SCORE: PDX 55, LAC 50. Wesley with 15 points, LMA 12, Portland finishing on a 14-5 run. Portland shot 55% for the half.
TALKING HEADS "Psycho Killer" (live on Old Grey Whistle Test, 1978)
TALKING HEADS: "Life During Wartime" (live, c. 1979)
11. TNT announcers were twitterpated about the possibility of Nate McMillan leaving Portland for another team of his own free will at the end of the season. Fat chance of that.
12. Obligatory view of Free Throw Guy on camera, wearing another custom-made "Free Throw Guy" shirt. What a jackass. Clips made their shots.
13. TNT boys make analogy of LMA's skill set to that of Rasheed Wallace. Not totally unfair, 'cept Rasheed was tough low and became a jumpshooter, and LMA (hopefully) is heading the other direction...
14. What a great 3rd Quarter that was for Portland! Just terrific! Motion and hustle and made shots.. LMA stared the vaunted rookie in the eye and Big Blake blinked. Portland extended a double-digit lead and held it. Nico and Wesley and Rudy all played well and Joel was fully functional during his time in the paint. The Clips are a young team and they looked like it. END OF THE THIRD QUARTER: PDX 84, LAC 71.
15. Another bricked technical foul shot for Portland, this one by Patty Mills. Seriously, Przybilla would do better...
16. It was such a treat listening to the smooth call of Marv Albert instead of getting pissed off every other minute at Mike Barrett's tension-laden soiling of his pantaloons over every Clipper made bucket. News flash: the announcers do not control the outcome of the game on the floor. Observe it. Call it.
17. Eric Gorden hit the 30 point mark outside of the 7 minute mark with a step-back 25 foot bomb over Joel Przybilla. That guy is a big, big star in the making — Derek Rose- or Russell Westbrook-caliber.
18. The Clippers made their run midway through the 4th Quarter, whittling down the Blazer lead to just 3 points at the 6 minute mark when Eric Gordon connected on another bomb. Vinnie Del Negro went very small with good results and the Portland longballs (Matthews, Flying Squirrel) started bricking. Portland very clearly needed to start getting the ball into the paint. Getting Patty Mills in Gordon's face might be advisable, too.
19. Fratello: "Normally it's Griffin that overpowers his opponent, but tonight it's Aldridge overpowering Griffin." LMA posts up David Stern's funny-looking poster boy for a 7 point Portland lead as the game went to its final TV time out. LMA had 26 points.
20. Fun finish, a 16-4 Blazer run to reestablish control and win going away. Nice. The Blazers finished strong, on solid runs in all four quarters. FINAL SCORE: BATTERED BETTER BLAZERS 108, SAN DIEGO CLIPPERS OF LOS ANGELES 93. LMA finished with 28 points on 13-for-20 shooting — 1.33 points per shot (exact method of calculation). Somewhere in California, Mr. Snake was heard moaning, his world crashing down around his feet. Wesley also had 28 points, the Flying Squirrel added 17 off the bench. Andre with 15 and Nic with 10. Fabulous! I'm extremely pleased to say that I missed the call on this game by 43 points... One of the Blazers' best game of the year.
Fun fact: Number of times that Steve Kerr has ever mentioned on a TNT telecast that Rudy Fernandez was obtained with a draft pick that he sold for $3 Million — zero.
Let's take at this thang graphically, shall we?
Here's Orville's popcorn pictures. All you have to do is CLICK THE LINK. Unsolicited comments follow...
A. Wow, what a weird graph. The Clips came out murderously fast, going on a 16-2 run at the open. The game turned near the end of the 2nd Quarter on a little 8-1 run that featured Andre, Rudy, Wesley, LMA, and Sean Marks.
B. The Clips made two major runs at Portland, going on a 12-6 tear early in the 3rd Quarter against the Blazer starters, and an 8-0 run in the 4th Quarter that seems to have been terminated with a substitution of Nic Batum for Joel Przybilla.
C. Pryzzy was Minus-14 in Plus/Minus on a night in which his team won by 15. Everybody else was in the positives. That's really ominous for him, it indicates he was either very unlucky or very bad defensively.
D. LMA's big quarters were the 1st and the 3rd; in the final period it was Rudy, Wesley, and Andre getting the job done.
E. Griffin played the entire 3rd Quarter and scored zero points. He finished the night 20 and 18 on inefficient 6-for-17 shooting (0.87 points per shot used, exact method), compared to LMA's 28 and 8. Griffin also had 5 turnovers. HUGE advantage to LMA in the head-to-head.
"The Free Throw Guy is Stuffed" Credits:
Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, "What's Really Behind Home Field Advantage?" Sports Illustrated, Jan. 17, 2011, pp. 64-72.
Photo Credits: Free Throw Guy: Facebook.com.