With all of these high expectations and with a compressed schedule, there’s bound to be some ups and downs for any team. Some of the concerns have been addressed, for example the rebounding and a backup for Caron Butler (a Gomes replacement if you will) but some of the problems are still glaring. Let’s briefly go over the previous two games.
The Clippers held an early lead against the Timberwolves and Blake Griffin got to scoring early. Unfortunately it was a different story in the second half when Blake sat for a long stretch and even when he was back in the game, the Clippers failed to get him the ball or let him work in the post. Instead, the Clippers continually shot jumpshot after jumpshot with very little success. Outside of Mo Williams, the Clippers only got 1 basket from the rest of the bench. The bench was the story for the Wolves, mainly Derrick Williams and Michael Beasley who combined for 54 points off the bench and the Wolves’ stars, Rubio and Love got some much needed rest for their back to back to back.
Many of the Clippers’ problems can be attributed to Vinny Del Negro’s coaching and this Basketball Breakdown video goes into detail on why the Clippers have had problems on both ends of the floor. They would go on to lose the game 109-97.
In Sacramento, the Clippers held an early lead once again but had a scare when the Kings’ rookie Jimmer Freddette began hitting long 3-pointers seemingly at will.
They were able to get it together with some help from newly (re)acquired Bobby Simmons who knocked down a few jumpers upon entering the game.
Chris Paul was his usual self, scoring 22 points and dishing out 9 assists and the Clippers pushed it to 94-81 after a Mo Williams 3-pointer. A major difference between the two games was the bench contribution.
One has to wonder how the Clippers are going to get consistent contribution from their bench. They have capable scorers but once Chris Paul exits the game, there’s always a sense of uneasiness. Eric Bledsoe is slowly working his way back into the rotation and while he shows glimpses of the athletic, under control point guard from last season, he also shows a lot of rust and out of control play that he displayed in Summer League of 2010.
Luckily the Clippers’ current 6-game road trip isn’t as formidable as ones past with games against, Sacramento, Phoenix, Houston, Minnesota, New Jersey and San Antonio. With the exception of San Antonio and in a building where they have never won in, the other games are very winnable and should be if they would like to move up the standings.
We’ll see how they fared next week here on Hoops Talk Nation.