Today the Indiana Pacers are on the road in the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Clippers in what will be a measuring stick for both teams. For the Clippers, JJ Redick and Chris Paul are both game time decisions with Redick unlikely to play. If these two guys don’t play, it will be more of a blessing to the Clippers in regards to Doc Rivers being able to see what he has in the rest of the team, as Paul and Redick are two of the more consistent performers.
With Paul and Redick out, the spotlight will be on Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and their ability to contain David West and Roy Hibbert in the post. These two bigs need this win today in order to prove that this teams success is not just predicated on the play of Chris Paul. I know I keep mentioning the lack of interior defense, but this is Blake and DeAndre’s latest opportunity to demonstrate the improvements they have made in their defense. It is well know Pacers coach Frank Vogel’s fondness of pounding the ball inside to Hibbert when he feels there is a potential mismatch in the post, and with the poor interior defense we’ve seen from Jordan thus far, we will most likely see a fair amount of Hibbert today.
If the Clippers are to succeed today, Jared Dudley’s ability to limit Paul George will be paramount. George makes this offense go and is the main reason this Pacers team is off to a (15-1) start. The main criticism the Clippers have run into this season is that a they lack a productive two way wing player. Dudley, while solid, needs to prove that he can step up his production both offensively and defensively. Today my hope is we see more Reggie Bullock and I think we will. As his playing time has increased, he’s begin to look more comfortable. He is a guy that eventually will be able to guard players like Paul George for extended periods of time, but today I think we see him in spurts today guarding George.
Is the Clippers are without Paul and Redick today, the game will be not as much about getting the W as it is about seeing the things I mentioned out of those guys. If the Clippers have hopes of making a run at an NBA championship this season, the Indiana Pacers are a great measuring stick for them, and it will be interesting to see the Clippers matchup against a possible NBA finals opponent