May 1st, 2013
The Clippers are blowing it. Now that the Lakers have been eliminated, the Clipp Show has the chance to completely dominate the Jock Talk LA headlines for the next month. Now it’s starting to look like they might only be getting attention for another week.
Lionel Hollins is coaching circles around Vinny Del Negro. Since the Clippers took a 2-0 lead, Hollins has played more through Z-Bo and Marc Gasol, and managed to get the ball out of CP3’s hands on pick and roll plays. Del Negro has been unable to adjust to the Grizzlies new game plan, and now his team, and his job, are on on the verge of elimination after getting punked on their home floor.
Those that say coaching means nothing in the NBA, and that it’s all about the players have no idea what they are talking about. The playoffs are where we get to see who can actually coach and who can’t. How about playing a little bit of zone to slow down the Grizzlies big men? What about moving Chris Paul off the ball so he’s not so easy to double team? Del Negro needs to get creative quickly or else he’s going to be the first one to take the blame for the Clippers downfall.
As if things weren’t bad enough, now the Clippers have to deal with injuries to both Blake Griffin’s ankle and Chris Paul’s thumb. Although both will probably play through the injuries, it certainly won’t help their chances.
The bigger issue for the Clipps is the lack of development that is now apparent in Blake Griffin’s game. Griffin looks like a human highlight reel during the regular season, but is getting exposed as a player with limited basketball skill in the playoffs, especially when going up against two highly skilled big men. Until Griffin learns to develop some post moves, and is a bigger threat in the pick and roll, the Clippers half court offense will continue to be ineffective. By his third year in the league, there should have been more development. That’s an adjustment that Vinny Del Negro can’t make.