The Clippers are aware of which players can do the most offensive damage on a nightly basis -- Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin. However, the way the rest of the team has responded to the ball frequently being fed to those three, in addition to how things have gone for the club when any of the trio has a rough night, shows that the team may need an overhaul in offensive philosophy in 2011-12.
Almost every time the team has to run an offensive set, either Mo Williams, Randy Foye or Eric Bledsoe has started things off by taking the ball to the top of the key and heading in the direction of Blake Griffin before giving him an entry pass. But while Griffin has been breathtaking in the open court, his post-up game, especially against physical opponents, is still a work in progress, and he shot just 6-for-15 and had six turnovers against Memphis' Zach Randolph on Tuesday.
Gordon, meanwhile, has seen the majority of the offensive initiation passes either when Griffin is not available or the team is looking for some long-distance shooting. However, when the 3-pointer hasn't been available, Gordon has frequently forced drives or awkward shots near the paint, leading to turnovers and poor shooting nights, just as he turned the ball over twice and made just 5-of-13 attempts in this one.
Kaman has suffered problems similar to Gordon's, encountering difficulties whenever he has to put the ball on the floor or is double-teamed before he can face and pop his deadly 15-foot jumpers, leading to the offense frequently becoming stagnant. And all of this attention given to Griffin, Gordon and Kaman is leaving players like Williams, Foye, Craig Smith and others with few opportunities to do what they do best on offense.
The best players on any NBA franchise are typically obvious, and there's little question that Griffin, Gordon and Kaman should receive the lion's share of the shots. However, if they can't learn to either get their teammates involved more frequently or defer when it's clearly not their night, the Clippers may be doomed to nothing more than mediocrity for the time being. Next up is the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road Wednesday.
CLIPPERS 82, GRIZZLIES 81: Chris Kaman caught a break when Memphis' Marc Gasol whiffed on a jump ball at center court with 5.7 seconds to go, and he took full advantage by tapping it out to Mo Williams, who dribbled out the clock on a win that improved the Clippers to 31-47 overall and 9-29 on the road. The Clippers limited the Grizzlies to 1-of-9 shooting from downtown and forced 15 turnovers as the Grizzlies mustered just 38 points in the second half.
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