After the Los Angeles Clippers (116-103) opening night defeat at the hands Los Angeles Lakers, it is clear LAC has not yet fully embraced head coach Doc Rivers defensive approach. The Lakers got a huge 68 point night from their bench including 22 from Xavier Henry. The Lakers bench the Clippers bench by 34 points(doubling the production). The Clips shot a lowly 38% from behind the arc and an unexcuseable 54% from the free throw line, including Blake Griffin’s prolific 3/10 performance from the charity stripe.(BLAKE WE HAVE BEEN ASKING YOU TO DO IT FOR YEARS, WORK ON YOUR FREE THROWS)
The interior defensive struggles were evident last night as Paul Gasol, Chris Kaman, and Jordan hill combined for 12 offensive rebounds. If that trio gets the better of the Clippers bigs, I am afraid of what teams like the Houston Rockets will do to this Clippers team(BLAKE YOU NEED TO STOP BEING SOFT. PAU GASOL AND CHRIS KAMAN KILLED YOU, THEY ARE TWO OF THE SOFTEST PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE, GROW A PAIR AND MAN UP.) Another big theme defensively was the lack of defense off the bench. The Lakers bench saw far to many open looks in their time on the floor. With the exception of Wesley Johnson, the bench shot an wnet 29-49, an astonishing 59%. Team defense will continue to be an issue this season and I think rookie Reggie Bullock could be a possible solution. I know offensively he’s not there, but wing scorers are going to have a field day against the Clippers like Henry did last night, why not give Bullock a few minutes Doc?
Okay, I know I am making this sound like a complete disaster of a game(which it was because we lost to a team that started Nick Young, Steve Blake, and Shawne Williams), but the Clippers had the lead for a majority of the game. DeAndre Jordan did exactly what I predicted and had a larger all around impact scoring 17 points, grabbing 11 boards, and rejecting 3 shots. Blake Griffin played a solid 40 minutes, putting aside defense and free throws he looked good, running the floor well and displaying a more polished offensive game. JJ Reddick showed Vinny Johnson like scoring ability opening quarter going 4/5 in the opening minutes. The Clippers will need that offensive production moving forward. Finally, I loved the way Darren Collison played last night. He scored 9 points in 12 minutes on 4/5 shooting. His ball handling is much improved and displayed his lightning quick first step.
While it’s only one game in, the Lakers exposed a lot of the problems we expected to see from the Clippers. The team defense was not there, they miss what Caron Butler brought them at the 3 and they need to be tougher on the interior. Let’s see if they can make the necessary adjustments Thursday night against Golden State.