Sugene Lee

“Grit & Grind” Is Not The Answer

In NBA: LA Clippers on May 16, 2012 at 7:19 am

First of all, I give the Clippers a whole lot of props for getting through the first-round. Nearly all ESPN “experts” expected the Clippers to lose in the first round, but they were able to grind out each win and win Game 7 on Memphis’ home court. It was one of the ugliest basketball I’ve seen, but it has to go down as one of the best first round series in the NBA Playoffs.

Then, here’s the problem: San Antonio Spurs. From the start of this lockout season, they’ve become an offensive juggernaut that just can’t be stopped. Once again, they’ve climbed up to take first place, record wise, and completely dominate their opponents. Unfortunately, the Clippers have to be on the bad end of the stick. When playing against a Memphis team that had one of the worst offensive in the league, the Clippers lucked out and got to hide their poor perimeter defense. In Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, it was impossible to cover up their poor defense. Spurs were getting wide open three’s and drained 13-25 from behind the arc. And the Clippers’ poor rebounding continues to make me yell at the television.

The Spurs will not beat themselves, and the Clippers will not be able to grind out games to beat them. The second round will not be nearly as physical as the first round against Memphis, but the Clippers are going to be a heck of a lot smarter than the Spurs to beat them, which likely won’t happen because they have the one and only, Gregg Popovich.

With Chris Paul having an awfully bad shooting night and careless turnovers, Blake Griffin, Randy Foye and Mo Williams offering nothing on the offensive end will kill the Clippers. However, one thing we can take from the playoffs so far is that the Clippers’ bench have shown up. Known as the “Goon Squad,” they have changed the momentum of the game to their favor and have ultimately been the MVP’s of the first round. In Game 1 against the Spurs, Eric Bledsoe was doing it on both ends of the court with an efficient 23 points on 10 of 16 fg’s, 5 rebounds (4 offensive), 4 assists, and 3 steals. Essentially, he was the best Clipper on the court. He is the best on-the-ball and perimeter defender, and the stats don’t do justice to how he impacts the game.

The only way to beat these Spurs is if they can outscore this team. Spurs will score no matter what kind of defense you give them, but if the Clippers are not making shots, they’ll pay for it at the other end.

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