Sugene Lee

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Regular season ends, Playoffs begin

In NBA: LA Clippers on April 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

The 2011-2012 regular season has been one heck of a roller-coaster ride for the Clippers. March has been a horrendous month as they had 20 games, including their second back-to-back-to-back that they lost. After these three consecutive losses, Vinny DelNegro was on the “hot-seat” with thoughts of him being fired any minute of the day. But, that’s when things started to turn around. Their last five games of March were at home and all ended with W’s and Vinny was safe. Not only did they win their last five in March, but they continued to go on a hot run, beating teams like Dallas, OKC (twice), and Denver. Then there’s that whole roller-coaster ride the Clippers have been on, as they lose their last two games and lose home-court advantage to a Memphis team who had a piece of cake schedule to end their regular season. Not only that, but they have also been taking a lot of criticism, particularly Blake on him flopping, staring, getting away with “offensive fouls,” etc.

Now, maybe I’m talking as a fan right now, but despite the Clippers starting their first game on the road, I have a very good feeling they are going to steal this game away. There are too many doubters saying that Memphis is going to win this series in account with what they had done to the Spurs last year. I’m not saying Memphis is not a good team, I think they are a great grind-it-out, defensive team and have a great chance at winning the series, but with a Chris Paul who goes into a whole different level in the playoffs, it won’t be that easy. Tony Allen, arguably one of the best perimeter defenders in the league will have a hard task of containing the playoff Chris Paul as well. Not only Chris Paul, but with the way Randy Foye has been playing, making the most three’s in the league after the All-Star Break, and Blake Griffin being Blake Griffin, it won’t be an easy series.

What Will Hurt the Clippers

The Clippers aren’t even close to being a perfect team and have a lot to fix. One of the most important things that will hurt the Clippers is going to be their free-throw shooting. With one of the worst free-throw shooting percentage in the league, the playoffs are going to be full of hard fouls and if Blake, who averages close to most free throws in the league, can’t make those, it’s going to hurt him and his team, big time.

Perimeter defense is also going to hurt the Clippers as they go into the playoffs. Luckily, the Grizzlies are one of the worst in 3-point shooting, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt the Clippers as any team can get hot behind the arc. Their size, especially at the three, is no match for an athletic Rudy Gay. He will blow by Caron Butler at will.

Stopping the Grizzlies’ big men, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Blake isn’t the best defender and if Randolph decides to go on a tear, as he did in the last playoffs, this series isn’t going to last very long. DeAndre Jordan will also need to step out and defend Gasol, who can easily shoot the 15 footer and bounce-pass the ball without you even knowing.

Third “go-to” guy. Throughout the season, the Clippers haven’t had a third consistent go-to guy outside of Chris and Blake. Caron Butler was that guy in the beginning of the season and have just been up and down after Chauncey Billups went down, then it was Mo Williams who seems to be fairly consistent, but the problem with Williams is that if he doesn’t provide instant offense, he’s about as useless as Reggie Evans is on the offensive end. As of late, it’s been Randy Foye, who’s been on a tear with his three’s, but the question is, can he, who’s never been in the playoffs, do that consistently?

Experience. No explanation needed.

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