Time to Sink some Clippers

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Published: November 24, 2008

Hornets(7-5) @ Clippers(2-11)

Offensive Efficiency: Hornets 106.7(4th), Clippers 94.9(29th)
Defensive Efficiency: Hornets 102.6(13th), Clippers 105.2(24th)

The Clippers should roll out their newest acquisition tonight against the Hornets: Zach Randolph, recently acquired from the New York Knicks for Cat Mobley and Tim Thomas.  That trade brought them yet another big man to pair with Camby and Kaman, but weakened their perimeter depth at the same time.  I’m not really sure what the Clippers are thinking though.  Randolph just proved he can’t play well with another big post scorer, and he’s expected to play with Kaman, a big post scorer.  Brilliant.

The Clippers are proud owners of the 2nd worst offense in the league, and the 6th worst defense in the league.  Their record and stats are a little misleading because they have played a lot of solid teams early on: the Lakers and Utah twice each, along with Denver, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.  Still, this is a bad team.   Just about the only thing they do well is block shots, which is only useful if you can get a rebound, which they can’t, having been out-rebounded by an average of 5 per game so far this year.  I’m not sure how you roll out two of the leading rebounders from last year and fail so miserably to control your own defensive backboard, but this team is doing it.  This team also has an awful offense, led by Baron Davis’s 38.7% shooting. The Clippers rarely draw fouls, rarely get to the free-throw line, and take 17.6 three-pointers a game, hitting 30% of them.  Sounds like a Baron Davis-led team, doesn’t it?

Despite all that, the only player that concerns me on the Clippers is Baron Davis.  He plays a much more focused game against the Hornets, and when he starts penetrating, things can get dicey.

Injuries

Hornets: Devin Brown is Day-to-Day with a sprained ankle.  Mo is out for another game or two with a bad knee.
Clippers: None that I’m aware of

Positional Analysis:

PG: Chris Paul v Baron Davis
Advantage: Hornets
Baron Davis is having his worst season to date, largely because a half court offense isn’t best for his talents, and that’s the sort of team he plays on.  He’ll tighten up his game tonight and try and punish Chris, but the fact remains that Paul will still dish out a lot more than he’ll take.

SG: Rasual Butler v Ricky Davis
Advantage: Hornets
Even if Ricky Davis was shooting his normal percentages, I’d still probably give Rasual Butler the edge here.  Ricky has never been a particularly efficient scorer, and he’s one of the worst defensive players in the league.  This season, however, he’s also shooting 27% from the field and turning the ball over more than he ever has before.  Honestly, I’m betting Davis loses his starting spot tonight to new arrival Mardy Collins or rookie Eric Gordon.  Rasual will play excellent defense, and has been able to stick his three’s.  Nice.

SF: Peja Stojakovic v Al Thornton
Advantage: Clippers
Al’s a nice player.  He scores well, rebounds solidly, and tries on defense.  Still, he’s at best a fourth option on a really good team, not the second option like he is for the Clippers.  Peja is the Hornet’s third option, but he’s shooting like a 5th.  Get that shot falling Peja.

PF: David West v Marcus Camby
Advantage: Hornets
Camby has been overrated for about four years now.  He is a terrible on the ball defensive player, and his offensive game has fallen apart.  Who cares if he swats a few shots into the stands on a switch if the player he’s guarding can score 20 on him without working?  Not me.  So far this season, Camby’s not even providing his usual good rebounding.  West will own this battle, have no doubt.

C: Tyson Chandler v Chris Kaman
Advantage: Even
Kaman is playing more efficiently than he ever has before, partially because Baron is giving him some nice dump-offs in the paint for easy finishes.  That said, he’s not rebounding well, he’s not getting the ball as often as he did last year, also because of Baron, and Tyson’s length has given Kaman fits trying to score in the post in the past.  The only reason this is even is because of Tyson’s ongoing distractions with his pregnant wife – distractions that have clearly affected his energy on the floor.

Bench
Advantage: Hornets
Zach Randolph will the the Clippers primary option off the bench tonight.  There’s no doubt that he’ll score.  There’s also no doubt he won’t defend.  It’ll be interesting to see how our bench handles him.  All that said, the Clippers have no one else off the bench they trust.  You can tell from their minutes. Eric Gordon only plays 13 per game, Mike Taylor 11, Jason Hart 12, Paul Davis 10, Brian Skinner 11.  The closest thing they had to a sixth man was Tim Thomas, and he’s gone.   I’ve liked our second unit lineup of Armstrong, Wright, Posey, Butler and Devin Brown – and even with Brown potentially out, I’d still like that more than Zach Randolph and that bunch.

Enjoy the Game, it’s a late one.  I might not have a recap until the morning since it’ll be ending around 1 AM for me.

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