Alone in the Corner

Two Passes From Victory

20th April 2014

Golden State @ LA Clippers Game Report

First off, let’s just get this out of the way: these two teams hate each other. A lot. The officials came into the game having already decided that they weren’t going to let this game get out of hand. I don’t think it was likely to get out of hand, but who knows? Anyone who watched knows that the game was poorly officiated, so there’s no need to belabor the point. It was bad.

Both Blake Griffin and Andre Iguodala fouled out, and I think MJAX did a better job managing AI’s foul trouble. I’m not a fan of Doc’s conservative handling of Blake.

Blake picked up his fifth foul very late in the 3rd quarter and sat till nearly the 5:00 mark of the 4th quarter. He didn’t actually foul out till there was only 48 seconds left in the game, but he effectively fouled out for those seven minutes in the 4th quarter that Doc had him sitting on the bench.

Doc’s decision to save Blake for crunch time was a poor one. It’s possible that crunch-time minutes have more value than minutes played earlier in the game, but you’d have a pretty hard time convincing me that you could properly quantify the value of those minutes – especially once we get into the 4th quarter. 

If my star player is going to foul out and play only 19 minutes, he’s not going to be picking up his sixth foul with 48 secs left.  That’s just not happening. If I were Doc:

·      I certainly wouldn’t have had Blake sit the remaining 11 minutes of the 2nd quarter after picking up foul # 3.

·      I’d have brought him back with no less than 9 mins left in the 4th quarter.

This would have guaranteed him the same amount of playing time, and I’d be freerolling on him not picking up any more fouls.


(Then again, if I were coaching he probably wouldn’t have made it to the 4th quarter – he likely would have fouled out sometime in the 3rd. I say ‘probably’ because I can’t know for sure. What I do know is that once Blake picked up his fourth foul, Doc ensured that his player wasn’t going to play more than 20 mins or so in this game, and that’s not something I’d ever trade for a few more minutes of perceived “crunch time”.) 

MJAX gave AI a little more freedom, AI quickly picked up his third foul but didn’t immediately sit. AI is a smart defender who defends on the perimeter where it’s a lot easier to hide a player in foul trouble, so maybe it’s an easier call to leave him in. Still, I would have gambled in both instances. In the end, AI managed to play one minute longer than Blake despite fouling out a full two minutes earlier.

So GSW came in and “stole” Game 1. You could come away thinking, ‘Blake only played 19 mins and GSW barely squeaked out a win, the Clips are fine.’ But after re-watching the game and seeing how the Clips defended, I am not so sure.

I hated a lot of the things the Clips did on defense, lets start with Postups and how the Clips frequently doubled the post. 

GSW may feel that they have a perceived advantage with Klay, AI and Harrison Barnes on offense, especially with the Clippers’ smaller 1s, 2s and 3s. I’m less certain.

If GSW is going to win this series by taking contested turnaround deadzone (long 2) jumpers, then congrats. They win. You shake their hand, and then you go fishing. Here are some examples of how the Clips defended in the Post;

On this Klay postup CP3 is defending quite well. Look at where Klay has the ball, look at how every GSW offensive player is engaged by a LAC defender and look at the position the Clips have to rebound a miss. This is good defense.


But here comes Big Babyimage

Big Baby is guarding a zero - Hilton Armstrong, so leaving him is probably fine. But is that the reason he left? 

No matter who he was guarding, Big Baby incessantly left him to double the post. I am not sure if this was the gameplan or if it was just Big Baby out there freelancing, whatever it was it has to stop.

Here is another example;

CP3 has Klay engaged in a really tough spot, and the Clips D is setup perfectly.


But again here comes Big Baby


This time its not Hilton Armstrong, its David Lee. Lee is a terrific passer and now GSW has an easy layup, or if the other big helps they are one pass removed from a Dunk.

JVG was the spot on with the commentary at this point  wondering why the Clips are doubling the post unnecessarily.

Here is what happens when the Clips don’t double



1. How tough the shot is

2. How engaged every LAC defender is with a GSW player.

3. The Clips defensive rebound positioning.

If you are the Clips let GSW run postups, let them think they have an advantage and hope they run less PNR or high Screen action. 

Because when GSW runs PNR or Screen action its Death

Go back and watch the game between GSW and  Miami on January 2nd  if you want to see what death by screen looks like. 

If you are the Clips, you have to be terrified with the ease in which GSW ran plays off their high screen action. The Clips don’t have the personnel nor the scheme to defend this.

Watch the way Crawford was always a step late when he was involved in the PNR


When Steph turns the corner there isn’t one player the Clips are actually defending well on this play. Not even sure how that is possible.

Same with here


When Steph is the ball handler and they are setting these wide or high screens. It puts so much pressure on the D because you can’t go under on a Steph Curry screen, he’s too good a shooter for that to work.

This next play is actually my favorite because the Clips nailed the daily double.  They over committed to Curry (PNR Ball handler) and then doubled the post.


Which led to a wide open Harrison Barnes 3PM. 


Again look at how much attention a simple screen draws, look at all that space, and look at the the 2 shooters GSW has on the left side of the court playing 3 on 2.


Here is what happens when you are forced to chase and recover because you are overcommitting to Curry. 





Or This



Curry isn’t even in the picture in one of those grabs. One thing GSW has going for them is that Curry isn’t forcing anything, the whole team is playing unselfishly. The Warriors are making the extra pass.

Some of the out of bound plays GSW ran were sublime;

This is a Power Forward making this play -



GSW ran another OOB play to end the 3q which also resulted in a layup. I give David Lee a lot of grief (for his defense) but he is a brilliant passer both off the roll and in the high Post when facing the basket.

While GSW was consistently making the extra pass, the Clips at times played selfishly. Here Jamal Crawford has a wide open Collison in the corner. image

Instead he shoots, and misses. Crawford was 1-10 after attempting this shot.

So where do the Clips go from here?

Having Blake out there will obviously help, a lot of these breakdowns involved Big Baby, who is probably the slowest player in the series. Big Baby is also a habitual doubler. Having Blake involved in these screens will help, but I am not sure how much. 

Things I’d do if I were the Clips;

- Consider switching all screens, or at the very least not try to blow the play up all the way to center court. Look at how soft GSW plays their screens;



- Make a point of never doubling in the post, like I said if they beat you with a steady diet of postups congratulate them.

- I’d play less of Collison, and Crawford, more of Barnes and Granger, and I’d be more willing to sprinkle in Granger and Barnes over Crawford, Redick, and Collison.

- I wouldn’t pay nearly this much attention to Curry (Curry scored 14 pts in a GSW win).

- I’d let some of the other Warriors try and beat me 4 on 4 vs 4 on 3.

And Finally

- If it came up again, I’d let my franchise player actually foul out of a game with > 50 secs left.

 ·  9 notes

9 Notes

  1. souvagemag reblogged this from nbathoughts and added:
    If you love NBA basketball, this read is a must.
  2. nbathoughts posted this