NBA Christmas Day Thoughts: LA Clippers at Golden State Warriors (Chris Paul’s Debut)

Los Angeles Clippers 105 – Golden State Warriors 86

 

Another predictable beatdown, but this one was predicated largely on the talent disparity between the clubs.  To see it, one simply should look at the Clippers starters.  Caron Butler had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals, Blake Griffin had a game-high 22 points and 2 steals, DeAndre Jordan had a weak game but managed 8 blocks, Chauncey Billups had 21 points and 3 three pointers, and Chris Paul set the pace with 20 points, 9 assists, and 2 steals.  So since they dominated so much, the Clippers must be contenders, right?  Not so fast.  While Chris Paul is certainly an MVP candidate, this team has a bugaboo that will very likely bite them.  Griffin was 4-8 from the line, and Jordan a terrible 4-12.  Neither of those marks is at all acceptable and that will cost them against better teams where they don’t overwhelm on talent.  Griffin, in particular, needs to get to respectable to be the MVP candidate he could be.

 

Improving on defense for Blake is a must, as well, as David Lee lit him up for 21-points and 12 boards.  Indeed, Lee actually outplayed the much-hyped Griffin prior to fouling out.  Still, it wasn’t enough, as a banged up Steph Curry had more turnovers than points or assists and Monta Ellis only managed 15-points in over 40 minutes.  The Warriors really need to sell high on the latter and get the former healthy.  Indeed, the real plus was Andris Biedrins looked engaged and active in his 20 minutes, going 5 of 5 from the field with 8 boards and 3 blocks.  If he continues that level of play, he’ll get a lot more minutes and might be an All Star.  So much for his being an amnesty candidate.

 

  • Rookie Klay Thompson showed flashes for the Warriors, and one can see what’s to like in his smooth game, but he’s going to take a good amount of time to develop.

 

  • Epke Udoh, last year’s #1 pick for the Warriors, however, looked lost.

 

  • A lot of that, and Biedrins few minutes, were because the Warriors went small for much of the game, with Brandon Rush getting big minutes.  With Biedrins playing great, though, and Curry hurt and ineffective, why not just keep Andris at the 5, let Rush play his natural 2, and Ellis play the point?  Going small obviously didn’t keep it close.  Curious move from Rookie Coach Mark Jackson.

 

  • Kwame Brown had as many minutes as millions he’ll be paid this year – 7.  In that time he had 1 point, 1 rebound and 3 fouls. Do the Warriors regret that signing yet?

 

  • With the game a blowout, it was a surprise that Vinnie Del Negro didn’t see what he had in rookies Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins.

 

  • The parts of the bench that did play, did play well.  Moe Williams was a stat box stuffer, while Gomes and Cook effectively stretched the floor.  They still need size, but at least Reggie Evans will help off the bench when healthy.

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