Sugene Lee

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

Clippers fall in Rose Garden 97-105

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

The Clippers lose, 97-105, in a physical battle against the Trailblazers, who continues to be unbeaten in their vicious Rose Garden.

Despite finally out-rebounding a team, 39-34, with 13 of the 39 being offensive rebounds, the Clippers weren’t able to dig themselves out of their 2nd quarter deficit.

Portland got off to a hot start with Gerald Wallace, who was scoreless in their New Years match, hitting consecutive jumpers and fouling out of the game with 20 points on 8-12 shooting. The Clippers were struggling to get the ball to go through the hoop, only hitting 33% of their shots. However, they went on a quick run with Mo Williams coming off the bench, making seven points in under four minutes and 14 to finish the game, ending the quarter 26-24.

CP3 got into foul trouble quickly, receiving his third with seven minutes left in the 2nd quarter. He sat out the rest of the half with 0-3 shooting, 1 assist and 3 rebounds. Blake Griffin continued to be double-teamed, but finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, also hitting three consecutive jumpers in the third quarter on Lamarcus Aldridge who had 18 points and 7 rebounds of his own.

Caron Butler, who has been consistent throughout the season, continued to quietly contribute his 20 points and 6 rebounds. Reggie Evans also continues to be a threat on the glass with 7 boards in 16 minutes.

The closest the Clips got to Portland was after Chauncey, who had 19 points, hit a three, making it a two point game, 80-82. However, Portland came right back on a 7-0 run, giving them a nine point lead. Every time the Clips cut the lead, Portland made more shots to keep their lead.

With just a little over 20 seconds left the Clips were down three, 97-100, but missed key free throws, one by Billups which was his first miss of the season, and had a couple key turnovers in the final seconds of the game by Blake Griffin. They were just unable to execute their plays in the final minutes.

The Clips didn’t have a horrendous night, but they let Portland outwork them on both ends. They gave Wallace, Aldridge, and Wesley Matthews too many easy looks, especially in the second half. Portland also got sent to the line 32 times and were able to get 26 points from free throws, while the Clips got 17 of their 24 attempts. Whistles were constantly blown by the refs as both teams became chippy with one another, being very physical.

At times, the Clippers seem to be unorganized on their offense, but they need to figure out to jell quicker as they return home to play Miami on Wednesday night and the Lakers on Saturday night.

What Went Wrong?

It won’t happen very often, but CP3 getting into foul trouble hurt the Clippers badly. Without CP3 on the court for most of the first half, Raymond Felton was able to have a smooth first half. However, when Paul came back, he forced two critical turnovers on Felton in the final minutes of the game. Also, with CP3 on the bench, he wasn’t able to be on the court to make plays for his teammates, which led to the Clips’ sloppy offense.

DeAndre Jordan, who blocked 4 shots, but only had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes, seemed to have disappeared. For someone who stands at 6’11 and  has a wingspan of 7’6 should be recording double digits in rebounds. He grabbed 11 rebounds, his only double digit, in their last game against Portland on New Years, but failed to grab more than 8 in any other game this season. His agressiveness seems to have gone down and he doesn’t battle his opponents for rebounds like last season as he averaged 7.2 rebounds in 25 minutes compared to 6.7 rebounds in 31 minutes this season.

Brian Cook went scoreless on 0-3 fg’s and 0-2 from behind the arc in his 4:50 minutes of play, which resulted in a -14 in his +/- rating. He fails to make open shots and only contributes to his reputation of becoming the next Luke Walton for the Clippers. (I honestly think Trey Thompkins would do a better job in replacing Cook who can’t even do his job of hitting some 3’s once in a while).

Lastly, Vinny Del Negro’s inability to draw up good plays in the final minutes of a game. Portland deserved to win (and I’m not taking any credit away from them), but with a better coach with more experience, the Clippers can get to a whole other level, fast.
Jerry Sloan? Stockton & Malone = CP3 & Griffin?

Next Game: vs. Miami, Wednesday 1/11/12

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Third straight win vs. Bucks

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

A game that should’ve been an easy victory for the Clips became harder than expected in their 92-86 win against the Bucks.

The Bucks didn’t have their starting center, Andrew Bogut, due to personal reasons, along with three reserves and Brockman who left in the first half with an eye contusion.

The first quarter started off with a 8-1 lead for the Clips, until the Bucks went on a 10-3 run. During the second quarter, the Clips were unable to get a point for four straight minutes until Billups, shooting 100%, drew a foul and made two in a row. After another 2 1/2 minutes, they were finally able to get a shot from Caron Butler, who had 20 points and six rebounds of his own. Reggie Evans, who came in for the first time was able to get his first three rebounds within a minute. He’s proven himself to be a rebounding machine and a defensive energizer, but his free throw shooting was horrendous, going one of six from the line. The Clips were being outworked by the Bucks, but both teams shot horribly in the first half, ending in a Bucks lead of 40-38.

Third quarter starts have been the game-changer for the Clippers this year. Caron Butler quietly lead the team by making 13 of his 20 points in the third. The momentum completely shifted over to the Clips after Blake’s three consecutive highlight plays, all assists from CP3, and two of them being thunderous dunks. The Clips had 34 points in the third quarter alone, while Blake finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Bucks trailed the rest of the way, but were still able to remain within reach with Brandon Jennings 21 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.

Chris Paul contributed with 9 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals, but also had 4 turnovers. His presence continues to be effective despite his low-scoring games. Chauncey quietly added 19 points of his own making all seven of his free throws. Mo Williams, another energizing reserve, came off the bench and added 10 points in 21 minutes and an amazing blocked shot on Brandon Jenning’s three point attempt. DJ, who had a quiet night due to foul trouble, finished with 3 points from the line, missing his other 3, five rebounds and three blocked shots.

Problems

Rebounding continues to be a problem for the Clippers who was out-rebounded for the fifth game in a row, only grabbing 37 against Bucks’ 42. The effort was a lot better tonight with Blake grabbing 14 rebounds of his own, but the Clips should be able to box out most teams and out rebound them.

Free throws have also been another problem for starters, Blake and DJ, who get sent to the line more than most of their other starters. Evans, who got sent to the line six times, only made one. The team only made 65% of their free throws, 26 of 40, when making those shots alone could’ve blown the Bucks away. The Clips only shot 45% of their field goals, but, luckily, they were able to hold the Bucks to a field goal percentage of 36.

Turnover rates for the Clippers continue to be inconsistent, with 14 against the Bucks. With only seven against the Rockets a few nights ago, the Clips finished the half with eight turnovers.

If the Clippers are able to out-rebound their opponents, which they should be able to, make their free throws, and turn the ball over less, they can be a very dangerous team.

Next game: Tuesday, 1/10, vs. Portland

So far…On & Off the Court

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm

On the Court

The Clippers haven’t exceeded the expectations of anyone around the league, but they haven’t quite disappointed us, yet.

People have a wild imagination of Chris Paul throwing lobs to Blake and DJ 24/7.But, they’re not thinking of how many lobs they’ll have on a game night, they’re not trying to get onto SportCenter’s Top 10, and they’re not trying to put on a show just to please everyone else’s expectations. They’re just trying to win games.

With the media magnifying the Chris Paul trade, they lost their advantage of going into games as the underdog team. Opposing teams have played against the Clippers with high expectations and either blew them off the court, or was blown off the court.

Luckily, the Clippers’ season doesn’t start out with back-to-back-to-backs or even back-to-backs… yet. As a team, who’s only been together for just over a little 3 weeks, they have the chance to have more practices together before game days and learn to gel together.

After just having five games into the regular season, they’ve proven to be a great offensive team and a mediocre defensive team. In their three victories against the Warriors, Trailblazers and Rockets, they held them down to an average of 87.7 points per game. However, in their two losses against the Spurs and Bulls, they gave up an average of 114.5 points per game.

They’re currently one of the worst rebounding teams in the league despite having arguably the best athletic bigs at the four and five positions. Blake Griffin, who used to average 12+ rebounds per game is now only averaging 9, while DeAndre Jordan is only averaging 7. The effort on the Clips’ rebounding end seems to be lacking as they continue to let undersized bigs box them out. No matter how good they are offensively, they will not be able to contend for a championship without defense. All their victories so far have been through playing good defense on the team.

Their defense isn’t consistent throughout the whole game, but there are moments during the games where they show potential to be a great defensive team. They’ve been emphasizing the importance of defense whether they won or lost, which should give ClipperNation something to be excited about.

Despite their poor performance on rebounding, which Reggie Evans and Solomon Jones can hope to help out with, two big improvements from previous seasons are their low turnover rates, averaging only 7 per game, and 3rd quarter starts. After last season’s horrendous 3rd quarter starts, the Clippers were able to come out strong in the 2nd half and most of the time, run away with the game. Their turnover rate, another  problem they had last season, is now ranked among the best teams with the lowest turnovers per game, while forcing their opponents with many, giving them more opportunities to score.

CP3 continues to be a great floor general along with Chauncey Billups at his side. He gets good open looks for his teammates, which should only be getting better as the year goes by. Caron Butler seems to remain consistent with his shots and Mo Williams, although a reserve, brings a ton of energy when he gets on the court. DeAndre Jordan is a blocking and dunking beast, but can still improve his rebounding, along with Blake. Blake is still the exciting player, but hasn’t become 100% on his mid-range jumpers, though he’s had multiple good ones so far (I still cringe every time he goes for the jumper), and I wish he would defend his opponents better (he’s my favorite player, but it still frustrates me when he doesn’t challenge any shots and just puts his arms up).

The Clips are deep in their one to three positions, but are lacking depth with their bigs. Brian Cook (the Luke Walton of the Clippers), playing forward and center right now, hasn’t shown too much potential to be a 2nd string (and pisses the crap out of me every time he’s on the court). Hopefully, with the addition of Reggie Evans and Solomon Jones, they will be better on the boards. Rookies, Travis Leslie was able to score his first NBA basket from an alley-oop from his teammate Trey Thompkins, but hasn’t had a lot of playing time because of their already deep bench in the guard position. On the other hand, Thompkins seems to show potential, showing confidence every time he gets on the court.

Only five games into the regular season, seven including preseason, there have been complaints from other teams and even fans about “excessive” flopping, celebration after dunks, and Blake’s deteriorating humble demeanor. For me, because I am such a die-hard fan, it’s hard for me to see these happenings until somebody points it out. I acknowledge it, but at the same time, because the Clips have been getting so much attention for the good, they also start getting a lot of attention for the bad. Before I start criticizing the Clippers, one thing I do know is that the Clippers don’t “celebrate each dunk like they won the dunk contest.” Especially, Blake Griffin. So whoever disagrees, go re-watch his games and point out where he’s acting like a wild animal after coming down from a dunk. Sure, Blake flopped a couple times, but what player hasn’t? He gets fouled more than what he’s called for but continues to play the game, kind of. What I wish he would stop doing is the “stare” he gives the ref for not calling it. This year only being his 2nd year doesn’t give him the advantage of getting the right calls all the time, and he should know that. So please, Blake, stop with the stares. You’re so much better than that.

Off the Court 

The Clippers haven’t let the hype get into their head. They haven’t been gloating about winning a championship like the Heats did last year, only resulting in thousands of anti-Heats fans. They’re able to stay humble and show determination to win games. Even with great veteran additions and the best true point guard in the league, they stay focused on how to improve to contend in the playoffs.

But, as a Clippers fan, I wish they would be the most perfect, best, humble winning team. Ever. While I know that’s not possible, especially this year, I really hope they play the game the right way.

Clippers blow out the Rockets 117-89

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

In the battle between Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry (17 points and 5 assists), a very underrated guard, Paul won. With Paul starting the game scoring points along with Blake’s 1st quarter start, the Clippers were able to open a big margin in the first quarter, scoring 41 points while giving the Rockets only 26. CP3 finished with 20 points on 9 of 14 field goals attempts, 2 of 3 behind the arc, 10 assists, and 3 steals. Blake Griffin also had a great shooting night, finishing with 22 points on 10-15 field goal attempts.

Chauncey Billups came back and gave 13 points of his own, along with Caron Butler’s 11 points. Randy Foye came off the bench in the 4th quarter and went on a little run of his own, scoring 12 in the last quarter.

While the Clips’ defense wasn’t too great in the first quarter, their defense is what gave them the victory in the last 3 quarters. Both teams shooting above 50% into the 2nd quarter, the Clips were able to hold them to 46.1% while they shot 57.3% to end the game.

However, Clippers were still not able to out-rebound their opponent, both teams having 33 rebounds, despite the Rockets’ undersized team. The length of DeAndre Jordan and Blake should take over the boards, but they continue to get beat in every game.

A big improvement from last year is their average number of turnovers, only having 7 tonight and forcing 19 on Houston. This leads to less opportunities for their opponents to score and gain back momentum, but their defense must continue to intensify each game. Jordan, the leader of blocked shots, had none tonight, but was still able to change the direction of his opponents’ shots. If they continue to play defense, their offense will come naturally, like tonight.

Tonight, the Clippers were Lob Angeles, throwing more oops than any other game this season back and forth with DJ and Blake. With another sell-out crowd, the stadium was loud and proud.

After opening the margin by more than 20 points, the starting line-up for the Clips were able to rest for most of the 4th quarter and give the reserves a chance to play. Rookie, Travis Leslie, gets an alley oop assist from Trey Thompkins to score his first NBA basket. Despite all the fame and attention the starters get, they still continue to cheer on their team and show excitement off the bench.

Next game: vs. Bucks on Saturday 1/7

Clippers starting off the new year with a win

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 2, 2012 at 8:38 am

The Clippers were able to start the new year with a win against Portland in a 93-88 victory.

They had a solid start in the first quarter with the ball moving more and CP3 getting his teammates open shots.

CP3 was able to seal the deal, once again, after Portland came back up from a 17 point deficit, with his lucky 3-point buzzer beater andd drive-in layup with 9.3 seconds left on the clock. He finished the game with 17 points and 7 assists. This is why CP3 is a superstar. He’s able to score points in the final minutes and lead the Clips to a W.

With their improvement on defense, the Clips were able to hold the Blazers to 42.3% from the field and 26.7% from the three. They also came right out the gate with Blake, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds, exercising his mid-range jumpers and making his first attempts. However, he had a team-high of 5 turnovers of his team’s season-high total of 21. The Clips failed to out-rebound their opponents again with 38 rebounds, but luckily, they also forced the Blazers to 21 turnovers. Even with a little improvement from their last two games, the Clippers will improve much more as the season goes on. Blake Griffin states that they’re still “figuring each other out and can be even better.”

Caron Butler also had his best game in a Clippers uniform with 19 points and 5 rebounds; two points also came from a nice dunk of his own.

Randy Foye started in for Chauncey Billups, who’s still out from a sore right groin, and added 8 points of his own.

Mo Williams, who came out with lots of energy from the bench, added 13 points and 5 assists. He’s been embracing his role as a reserve and has shown great energy to keep the team running.

DeAndre Jordan got 9 points and 11 rebounds. Averaging the highest number of blocked shots this season, he was only able to get 1 tonight. However, with his attempts, he changed the direction of many shots and led to a Clippers’ possession.

Portland was coming back from three long quarters of sloppiness, and cut the 17 point deficit to 2, until Chris Paul decided to take over and work all over the place, offensively and defensively. He took on Jamal Crawford, a previous 6th man of the year, who had 23 points off the bench, and held him down. CP3 was also able to jump ball against Marcus Camby, and won.

While the Clippers were able to pull through with a New Year win, they still have much to improve on before they become true contenders. They’ll continue to be tested throughout the season, but they will also improve tremendously. They need to raise their efforts on rebounding as well as defense.

The Clips didn’t shoot extremely well, 48% from the field, but were able to hold down their opponent and win.

Clippers will be taking on Houston Rockets on Wednesday night!