Is it the injuries or the inconsistency? Is there a difference? The Los Angeles Clippers were grossly inconsistent in their first half against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. In the second half, they controlled matters en route to a 101-93 win. It was bizarre to see this squad struggle to get to 100. Scratch that, it was beautiful.
Following this game, the word “grind” came up five or six times in the postgame interviews. This poses a bigger question: Should the Clippers slow the tempo down for the foreseeable future? With J.J. Redick out and now Jamal Crawford (strained calf) joining him, the bench has been weakened because of the need to plug in holes in the starting lineup. Playing shorthanded, it’s not fair to ask this group to continue playing ‘Nellie ball’ – nor is it wise. Not only are the Clips banged up, but just look at their reserve squad. The backup small forward is 6-foot-8, 240-pounds. They just signed a power forward who is 290-pounds. After facing the Memphis Grizzlies the last two years in the playoffs, I think they should take a page out of their game plan.
Doc Rivers should strongly consider playing a more controlled pace, at least until his roster resembles the one back in San Diego during training camp. Who knows, perhaps this strategy could stay long-term. Run-n-gun isn’t a recipe for playoff success. The San Antonio Spurs are still who we thought they were, and they will likely be waiting for the Clippers again in May. A slow pace now may give them that yin-n-yang needed come postseason. It’s always nice to have two gears.
“I was most proud that we found a way to win,” Rivers said after the win over Houston. “That bodes well for us in the future.”