Arnovitz: The Clippers' 100 seconds of doom vs. Warriors

LOS ANGELES — After Chris Paul‘s first-quarter pyrotechnics were reduced to medium heat then fired up again in the fourth quarter to a roaring flame, the Los Angeles Clippers‘ defense was on the spot. It was an apt test, the culmination of a regular-season classic fit for May against the league’s best team in a decade at a moment when the Clippers had fought off the Golden State Warriors to re-establish a 10-point lead inside of six minutes Thursday night.

The final result was a confirmation of what we’ve come to know about the Clippers — a juggernaut of an offensive unit with versatile weaponry, outrageous skill and competitive drive, but a defense that leaks in the wrong places at the wrong times of a 124-117 Golden State comeback victory.

The Warriors are almost an unfair measuring stick, a team that’s designed to leave defenses nothing but bad choices, but that’s the course load in the Western Conference. And at the game’s breaking point, Golden State unleashed 100 seconds of offensive fury, two possessions that exploited the Clippers’ defensive strategy, and a third that exploited the Clippers’ pokey transition D.

The first possession is a showcase of the Warriors’ signature features, a small-ball ballet that leverages the unit’s versatility and range. The initial action is a lethal Stephen CurryDraymond Green pick-and-roll at the top of the key, with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala along the right, and Harrison Barnes on the right block scattered along the right side of the court. For the past couple of years, the NBA has been engaged in a debate about how best to defend Curry.

Among the menu of options:

Do you switch the action to maintain a body on Curry and protect the backside of your defense? Do you trap to pressure the ball and make damn well sure Curry doesn’t see daylight? Do you play “up to touch,” with the big man leveling off the screen, then quickly retreating when Green rolls?

The Clippers choose to trap with Paul and DeAndre Jordan, and when Curry dumps the ball off to a rolling Green, the Clippers three defenders behind the action must rotate. Paul Pierce is a bit slow to pick up Green in the lane. Griffin pinches down to pick up Barnes, which leaves Crawford on Thompson, with an open Iguodala in the right corner. With Paul essentially out of the play after the pick, Clippers’ defensive maven Lawrence Frank screams to Crawford to sink low. Meanwhile, Barnes has screened Griffin beneath the basket and effectively kept him from fighting his way back to Iguodala. Not that it matters. Thompson points to Iguodala, who has set up a chaise lounge in the right corner, not a defender within eight feet.

“It wasn’t a broken coverage,” Doc Rivers said. “We picked our poison, and he made us pay. He does shoot corner 3s extremely well, but we had to live with something, so we lived with that. That was my decision and they made them both.”

Less than a minute later after Crawford launches a 26-footer just before the shot clock buzzer, Green takes off downcourt. Like a man who’s watched a mile of Blake Griffin film, Green gets an early seal on Crawford, who has made a valiant attempt to pick up Green on the other end, but is no match for Green’s tuchus. Green gets an easy layup off an Iguodala bounce pass. For the Clippers, it’s a cruel stroke of irony. They’re among the NBA squads who generally forsake the offensive glass for transition D. No matter.

Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We are the biggest all round sports news website, serving our readers with the best sports news global

For inquiries please email

Copyright © 2015 Sport World 360. All Rights Reserved.

To Top