By now you’ve seen the devastating move that Stephen Curry unleashed on Chris Paul during the Warriors’ Tuesday night win over the Clippers.
Paul was shaken so badly by it that he was dropped to the floor, where all he could do at that point was watch helplessly as Curry’s shot splashed home. (Hey, at least he had a sense of humor about it afterward.)
But it wasn’t the only time that Paul was victimized by Curry that night. This crossover wasn’t quite as vicious, mainly because of the distance between Curry and his defender. It still had Paul just guessing, however, and freed up Curry to hit the wide-open shot.
The Clippers have lamented their lack of a home-court advantage since very early in the season.
And with the playoffs a little more than two weeks away, it appears as though nothing has changed.
Blake Griffin joined Chris Paul in going on the record publicly to state the obvious, which is that fans from other teams tend to invade the Staples Center and make their presence felt during Clippers home games against the league’s top teams.
“Home-court advantage is just not there for us,” Griffin said after the game. “If that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”
Warriors fans made Staples Center sound more like Oracle Arena on Tuesday night. They loudly cheered every made basket by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and chanted “M-V-P” when Curry was at the free throw line, causing several Clippers players to look up into the stands and shake their heads.
“I don’t know what we could do, but it would be great if it wasn’t that way,” said Griffin, who had 40 points in the loss. “It’s kind of like when we play the Lakers. I don’t know, maybe worse. It’s one of those things where it would be great if it wasn’t like that.”
Los Angeles remains a Lakers town, despite the current level of disparity between the two teams. That’s part of the problem with sharing a city and an arena with one of the league’s most storied franchises, and unfortunately for the Clippers, they’re going to have to overcome this obstacle and find a way to earn success in spite of it for many, many years in order to gain a passionate fan base all their own.
Chris Paul posts self-mocking meme after getting crossed over by Stephen Curry
Sometimes we may think that athletes live their lives in a vacuum, insulated from the Internet nonsense that surrounds them and the games they play.
But just like the rest of us, they have friends that will get in touch when everyone is talking about (or in this case mocking) a particular play they might be featured in — like this one, for example.
Stephen Curry did Chris Paul about as dirty as possible on that play, but hey, what are you going to do? Paul is an above average defender at the point guard position, but Curry’s handles were simply to ridiculous to deal with during this one crazy sequence.
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while…
1) In a game the Clippers needed more they couldn’t hold off Warriors, and it’s not a good sign. The showcase game on Tuesday started out kind of how we expected — the Clippers were playing with the desperation of a team fighting for its playoff seeding, the Warriors (without Draymond Greed) were playing like a team that wrapped up the top seed and really didn’t want to get hurt. The Clippers led by as many as 17 in the second quarter. Los Angeles had won seven in a row, and it looked like it would become eight.
However, the Clippers have a couple troubling flaws, and those were exposed in this game — and they are why the Clippers ended up losing 108-104. First is their often discussed lack of depth — Doc Rivers has to lean heavily on his starters, and they need Jamal Crawford back. You can say “come the playoffs that won’t matter much because of the time off” and you’re right in one sense. But that lack of depth limits the team’s flexibility — Golden State can attack you a lot of ways. The Clippers can’t.
But the bigger issue is this: The Clippers are not a great defensive team. They have been much better during the recent run of wins, but if you look at their last 10 games they are allowing 103,1 points per 100 possessions, 13th in the NBA. They are not in the Top 10 for the season. They are average or a little above. In this game the Warriors had an offensive rating of 111 (points per 100), and while Golden State has one of the top couple offenses in the league — and Klay Thompson went off in the second half — the Clippers could not get needed stops. The Warriors, on the other hand, could — Los Angeles shot 3-of-13 in the fourth quarter. If the Clippers get the Spurs in the first round, a real possibility, the depth and defense could be big trouble.
2) Are you going to guard Stephen Curry? Good luck. He’s a walking video game. Chris Paul is the best defensive point guard in the NBA and CP3 got dropped.
3) Blake Griffin had a monster game for Clippers. Blake Griffin could win an MVP one year, he is that good, that complete. Tuesday night he dropped 40 points on 16-of-25 shooting, plus had 12 boards. The Warriors were without Draymond Green, who usually gives Griffin trouble, and Griffin took advantage of the space.
4) We may have to watch the Nets in the playoffs. Lord help us all. The Nets have won four in a row, eight of 10, and now have moved back into the eight seed in the East. Tuesday night Brook Lopez went off for 24 points, and grabbed 11 rebounds, to help the Nets hold on for a 111-106 win over Indiana. The Nets led by 17 early in the second quarter, gave it all back, and had to scrap for the victory. Joe Johnson made key plays in the fourth quarter when they needed it. The Nets look like a team that will make the postseason. Somehow.
5) Kawhi Leonard is a stud, and the Spurs are rolling. It’s not so much that San Antonio flipped the switch as they just got healthy, but they look like the Spurs everyone should fear again. They manhandled Miami 91-75, and Leonard had 22 points on 13 shots, plus nine boards and a few assists. But what he really did is lock down the red-hot Dwyane Wade, who shot just 6-of-20 on the night. Fear this team come the playoffs.
Stephen Curry drops Chris Paul with behind-the-back move (VIDEO)
Chris Paul is the best defensive point guard in the NBA.
Stephen Curry just dropped him to the ground, then drained the shot.
That is as good a move as we’ve seen all season. Curry makes plays, but he does it with an entertaining flair — he’s maybe the second most popular player in the NBA right now for a reason. And when he starts making plays like this on the big stage of the playoffs, that popularity is only going to grow.