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Tag: Raymond Felton

Jovan Buha: Clippers “Much Closer to (Dominant) Team From Beginning of Season”

This postseason, Blake Griffin and the Clippers are fighting to stay relevant when it comes to discussion of the NBA’s elite (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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On this playoff edition, ESPN’s Jovan Buha joins us to help preview the Los Angeles Clippers-Utah Jazz matchup, an opening-round series that pits the league’s No. 4 offense against the No. 3 defense. The series comes at a pivotal time for the Clippers, who year after year have failed to meet high postseason expectations and will likely see three of their stars enter unrestricted free agency in the offseason. Do the Clippers have a fatal flaw, or have they merely not yet gotten over the hump? Jovan ponders that very question and much, much more. Sample some clip(per)s below:

9:25 – 10:10: Jovan discusses the legitimacy of the Clippers-as-chokers narrative and whether it affects the team: 

“It’s much easier to say a team choked than provide the context of it. With that said, there really is no other way to frame the Thunder series or the Rockets series. Both series, the Clippers should have won, or the Thunder series at least should have gone to seven. I do think the Clippers choked in both instances, but I don’t think that necessarily is their identity, and I don’t think necessarily they should be judged that way…I do think that the media narrative has gotten to them a little bit, and I do know that a lot of these guys pay attention to the media more than they let on, and it does seem to bother them more than they admit.” Continue reading

Defense Propels 76ers Nine Spots (Power Rankings: Jan. 20, 2017 Edition)

Coach Brett Brown and his Sixers are finally starting to see results, with wins in seven of their last nine games (TastyPoutine/Creative Commons).

With every team at or beyond the midpoint of its regular-season schedule, it could not be a better time to assess how each squad measures up. Some teams will be celebrating All-Star starter selections just named, while many others are confronting serious injuries. Amid this crazy time, the 76ers jumped nine slots, leaving the league’s cellar thanks to a mighty strong start to 2017. Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic have experienced the league’s steepest declines in recent weeks.

Biggest Jumps: Philadelphia 76ers (+9), Washington Wizards (+4), Detroit Pistons (+4), Denver Nuggets (+4)

Biggest Falls: Sacramento Kings (-8), Charlotte Hornets (-8), Orlando Magic (-7)
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Andrew Han: Griffin, Paul Likely to Stay With Clippers

Chris Paul and teammate and frequent lob recipient Blake Griffin can both opt out of their contracts in the summer of 2017 (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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At the midpoint of the Clippers’ regular season, there’s no need to fear. Why not? ESPN.com NBA writer and editor Andrew Han is here. The host of ESPN LA’s Clippers Podcast dazzles as he reverses roles and answers all of our Clippers-related inquiries. Chief among those, why has a once-elite defense fallen on such hard times? In this extensive interview, Han sheds light on recent improvements to the Clippers’ front office, impactful free-agent additions Marreese Speights and Raymond Felton and Luc Mbah a Moute’s sizable improvement, among a slew of other timely topics. Of course, he also addresses whether or not either of the team’s superstars could realistically depart upon season’s end. Read on for a handful of exhilarating excerpts:

3:51-5:01: Andrew diagnoses the main cause for the Clippers’ defensive struggles that have occurred since early December: “Because he [Luc Mbah a Moute] is so versatile, the Clippers switched [on] a lot of their coverages early in the season – Blake Griffin, in particular, because even though Blake is not the best defender, he certainly has the athletic ability to stay with most players, whether they’re perimeter players or big men. And so Blake and Luc would switch a lot. And I think one of the issues that occurred is that they started to switch more and more, and there’s that balance between switching because everyone is on a string and you know what your teammates and the people behind you are thinking and switching out of laziness because it’s just easier to do that…In layman’s terms, they were being lazy and not giving enough effort on defense, and I think that contributed to a lot of the defensive decline…and then of course the injuries only made everything worse.” Continue reading

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