Prevention Thoughts: ORL 98, LAC 90

Your recap is above, and the Preventions will follow…

The good news: the Clippers FINALLY kept a team to under 100 points.

The bad news: they lost. To a lottery team.

Title contenders have always played dominant. The Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers – all teams who have won championships since the arrival of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird – have treated every NBA opponent as one who had the capability of stealing their thunder. None of them ever played down to the opposition’s competition level – they weren’t going to take any team lightly, no matter how sorry they were in the record books. Even those cellar dwellers who may never get to sniff an NBA championship, let alone a Finals appearance, competed at a high level, just so they could relish the feeling of playing in a NBA Finals. Why is it that the Los Angeles Clippers, a team destined to become a title contender and western conference representative to challenge the Heat’s crown, are the only team in the NBA who plays down to the level of their competition?

If you go back twenty to thirty years ago, the Clippers used to be losers. They were a farm franchise masquerading as a professional basketball team. They exchanged youthful players that had high upside for draft busts, retiring veterans and expiring contracts in the name of cap space. Donald Sterling was working for Dr. Jerry Buss, purposely tanking games and playing cheap to give the Lakers the best opportunity possible to eclipse the Boston Celtics as the league leader in championship titles. Players inside the inept franchise refused to be a part of Sterling’s sinister scheme, but they had no other choice. They all knew what it was like to play for an owner who never cared about his franchise, whose mind was fixated on helping his best friend to ultimate glory.

Before the Chris Paul veto happened, every time the Clippers played a true NBA opponent, they plead for a merciful, quick and easy death. They had no direction, no purpose, no reason to play. The 2005-06 Clippers that featured Elton Brand and Sam Cassell experienced a losing of their innocence as they advanced to the second round for the first time in franchise history, but the Game 7 loss to the Phoenix Suns made their appearance look more like an aberration. After the Chris Paul veto and subsequent trade, the Clippers and a portion of their franchise underwent a metamorphosis from laughingstock to playoff contender. The compensation trade for Doc Rivers was seen as the missing integral piece who could lead the team to their true identity. But this latest loss to the bottom feeding Orlando Magic convinced us that their identity is still being formed.

Last season, the Clippers lost to a handful of lottery teams for being overconfident and cocky, treating them like garbage. They took the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans and Orlando Magic for granted. The Golden State Warriors also received the “instant loser” treatment, but they didn’t back down for one bit. On the first game, the Dubs pulled an upset. On the second game, they dominated them. On the fourth game, they blew them out. By underestimating the coaching of Mark Jackson and the play of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, the Warriors won the season series 3-1 and instantly became a playoff team who now possessed the ability to sweep the Clippers in a playoff series. Now the same karma is at an all time high with All Star Andre Iguadola and veteran Jermaine O’Neal in the fold. Though the Clippers did beat the Warriors in a Phoenix Suns-style battle, Golden State will never go away until they can atone for last season’s mental immaturity by beating them in the playoffs.

This game had nothing to do with preventing points or playing defense. The Clippers allowed the Magic to toy with their emotions and came out of the game defeated with Orlando as the victors. They must stop playing to the level of their competition and start dominating teams – even if they don’t want to – or else the NBA will become a very competitive league, with the Clippers on the outside looking in as an early casualty, with nobody to blame except for themselves.

Total Points Prevented: 51 PTS
Possessions Lost: 11
Preventions Box Score

CLIPPER PREVENTION LOGS (November 6)

Players
-------
CP - Chris Paul
JR - J.J. Redick
JD - Jared Dudley
BG - Blake Griffin
DJ - DeAndre Jordan
DC - Darren Collison
JC - Jamal Crawford
MB - Matt Barnes
AJ - Antawn Jamison
BM - Byron Mullens
MW - Maalik Wayns
WG - Willie Green
RB - Reggie Bullock
RH - Ryan Hollins

Abbreviations
-------------
PTS - Points
ORB - Offensive Rebound
AST - Assist
BLK - Block
STL - Steal
CON - Contested
SCR - Screen/Pick
OFF - Offensive Foul
FTO - Forced Turnover
TOV - Turnover
DELAY - Dead ball situation
DEF - Deflected out-of-bounds
POS - Possession
(H) - Help

All events are written in order.

1st Quarter
-----------
2 PTS - 1 CON - DJ
1 POS - 1 SAVE - BG
2 PTS - 1 CON - JD
1 POS - 1 ORB - JR
3 PTS - 1 CON - JD
2 PTS - 1 CON - DJ
1 TOV - 1 SCR - DJ
2 PTS - 1 CON - BG
1 DELAY - DEF - CP
2 PTS - 1 CON - BM
2 PTS - 1 CON - BM
1 TOV - 1 SCR - BM
1 POS - 1 STL - BM

2nd Quarter
-----------
1 POS - 1 ORB - DC
3 PTS - 1 CON - WG
1 AST - 1 STL - WG
1 POS - 1 ORB - WG
1 TOV - 1 SCR - BG
2 PTS - 1 BLK - BG
2 PTS - 1 CON - DJ,BG(H)
1 TOV - 1 SCR - DJ
1 AST - 1 FTO - BG
2 PTS - 1 CON - BG
1 POS - 1 STL - JD

3rd Quarter
-----------
1 AST - 1 FTO - CP
2 PTS - 1 CON - BG
1 POS - 1 SAVE - CP
2 PTS - 1 BLK - DJ,JD(H)
1 AST - 1 STL - DJ,CP(H)
1 POS - 1 STL - CP
1 TOV - 1 SCR - DJ
2 PTS - 1 CON - DJ
1 TOV - 1 SCR - DJ,BG
1 AST - 1 STL - BG,CP(H)
1 POS - 1 CLK - JD,JR
3 PTS - 1 CON - JR
1 TOV - 1 SCR - DJ,BG
1 POS - 1 STL - BG
1 AST - 1 STL - CP
2 PTS - 1 BLK - DJ

Final Quarter
-------------
3 PTS - 1 CON - BM
1 POS - 1 STL - DC,BM(H)
2 PTS - 1 BLK - DJ
1 TOV - 1 SCR - BG
2 PTS - 1 CON - JR,BG(H)
2 PTS - 1 CON - DJ
2 PTS - 1 CON - JD
3 PTS - 1 CON - JD
1 DELAY - DEF - BG
2 PTS - 1 BLK - DJ
SHANG TSUNG FATALITY!
-- END --

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