Boston: 107.4 points/100 possessions (14th)
Los Angeles: 105.6 points/100 possessions (21st)
Boston: 100.2 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Los Angeles: 109.1 points allowed/100 possessions (19th)
Probable Clipper starters:
Mo Williams, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan
Thumbnail: Remember when the Clippers were a young team with some really promising pieces? They had the future star and two really young athletic guys who were regularly featured on Sportscenter’s Top Ten plays and made the Clippers seem like they had so much promise? Waiiiiiittttt a second….that’s right now. But it was also in the early 2000s. Just look at this roster:
Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Quentin Richardson, Lamar Odom, Darius Miles…this team was exciting. Think alley-oops, raining threes, and lots of on-court celebrations. So again, think now. Back then it was Elton Brand emerging as a star and right now it’s Eric Gordon. Back then, Odom and Miles were absolutely punishing the rim–kinda like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are now. The Clippers finished that season 43-59. Today’s Clippers would have to win out nearly the rest of their games in order to match that effort. Perhaps unsurprising, both the Clippers of today and the Clippers of yore ranked 19th in defensive efficiency. Back in 2000 the other 20 games were made up by a more efficient offense. We’ll see if this year’s Clippers can reach that level next year.
WHAT THE CLIPPERS DO WELL:
Entertain: Sometimes all I want to do is watch Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan dunk. They just get up so high and throw it down so hard. Luckily, they lack the necessary defensive intensity to make those offensive impressions long-lasting.
Attack the Basket and Protect the Glass: Because they attack the basket so hard, the Clippers find themselves getting to the line a lot and in prime position to gobble up rebounds. This proximity, athleticism, and youthful exuberance translates into the Clippers being a top 10 rebounding team (8th) and the fourth best team in the league at getting to the line.
WHAT THE CLIPPERS DO POORLY:
Knocking Down Those Freebies: In a “cutting of your nose to spite your face” way only the Clippers’ franchise can do, the team takes their advantage of getting to the free throw line and hands it right back to their opponents. The Clippers are the 29th best team in the league at knocking down those precious free points. Again, this reality isn’t surprising when the two guys that get to the line the most not named Eric Gordon (Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) both shoot under 65% from the line.
Careless with the Ball: The Clippers have third most total turnovers in the entire league this season. They shipped out Baron Davis and his 3 TOs per 36 minutes at the trade deadline (good!) only to bring in Mo Williams and his identical rate (oh, we’re back!).
PLAYER/S WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
No One. Seriously. If Blake Griffin dunks on anyone’s face tonight, is any Celtic going to be rattled? Is any Celtics going to care? Is everyone going to jump up out of their seat and yell, “Dammmmmmnnnnn!!!” No, no, and yes!
PLAYER/S WHO DON’T MAKE ME WORRY:
Al-Farouq Aminu: Aminu is looking like he may be one of the better players in the league someday but his transition from college PF to NBA SF has been less than ideal. And I don’t even mean on the offensive end. Aminu is shooting far better from three (just under 33%, okay still bad) than I thought he would but he’s really getting abused by the league’s small forwards on the defensive end. I’m thinking Paul Pierce could have a pretty good game tonight.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE Cs TONIGHT:
Keep Rolling: The Celtics get a winnable game tonight against a beatable team regardless of what their roster looks like right now. Actually, scratch that– because of the way their roster looks right now. I’m predicting Troy Murphy gets his first field goal as a Celtic, Sasha Pavlovic plays capably, and Carlos Arroyo shoots an elbow jumper. Reallllly going out on a limb with those predictions….
Celtics 100, Clippers 90