Maybe leaning the Clippers to dig a hole in the bite at one point Playoffs 2021, but as yet proved Monday night, perhaps no team remaining in these playoffs n ‘ is better equipped to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in July. .
The Nets could be on the brink of elimination after Tuesday with the return of Kyrie Irving and James Harden all but guaranteed. Neither the Bucks or the 76ers are proven products playoffs. As for the Western Conference, the Suns are not a heavyweight, and the Jazz now return to Utah after a defeat 118-104 Monday night. The Clippers seem to take all night defensively. The co-star Kawhi Leonard has not really lived up to his nickname of Playoff P. But in a field of imperfect playoffs, the Clippers could be the team that wins the first championship without bubble of the decade. Monday night has certainly brought a dose of confidence in this regard.
The Clippers are not necessarily a Brooklyn juggernaut in the traditional sense, although head coach Tyronn Lue has a much deeper rotation than it did with the 2018 Paul George Cavaliers finished third MVP voting there barely 24 months. Marcus Morris is a quality scoring option, even with a selection of questionable shots. Your mileage on Reggie Jackson and Patrick Beverley can rightly vary, although on the other hand, the extensive collection of wings Los Angeles allow Leonard to handle increased load game. This list is deep and flexible physics, even when it is small. Each reference in Los Angeles as a championship contender ignores the available talent.
There are of course imperfections with Leonard the third team. The absence of a true leader of impact was an important reason for the release of the bubble last year, and it’s not as if the addition of Rajon Rondo had allayed these concerns. The team selection of shots can suffer when playing a traditional center, the presence of Ivica Zubac in paint often lead to a flow of triplets earlier. But when the unity of small balls Clippers play well, some alignments can match its excellence in both directions.
Lue chose to forgo a traditional center in the starting lineup in Game 4, playing Morris as five par alongside Leonard, George Jackson and the resurgent Nic Batum. What ensued was a full blitz.
The Clippers defense has limited Utah to just 13 points in the first quarter, and Donovan Mitchell finished the night with 37 points on 26 shots while his supporting cast was struggling. Lue has mixed all blankets throughout the evening, sometimes trapping Mitchell while opting for a switch in advantageous situations. Mitchell became an isolation scorer and leader of elite play. Allow it to feast switch after switch is a recipe for disaster. Yet the trap ad nauseam is what really gives the kickoff to the Utah offensive. Jazz thrives when the ball moves around the perimeter, blurring the defenses while Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanović and Jordan Clarkson make it rain three. Find a way to defend the offensive # 2 in the NBA is not an easy task. But the small ball Clippers were able to track both Mitchell and recover from the Utah shooters. Their performance on Monday should be a model for the rest of the series.
Not to despise Doc Rivers, but Lue could very well serve as a missing piece in Los Angeles as it seeks to redeem the collapse of last year. Lue has transformed a relatively dismal defending champion in 2016, now the Warriors to 73 wins to only 89 points in the seventh game of the NBA final. He helped assemble a pair of champions of the Eastern Conference over the next two years, becoming a true partner with LeBron James. Lue has quickly become one of the brightest assistants while working with Boston game early in the last decade. Nearly 10 years later, he remains a true tactician.
Clippers know which version you get each night is a frustrating task. They go limp and look like world champions, build big lead before going into a shell. Yet it is hard not to be impressed by the talent of the list and the farm hand that leads the way. George waltzed his way to 30 points and nine rebounds Monday, hitting four three in the process. Leonard is currently fighting against Kevin Durant for the title of best player alive, and he scored 65 points on 53 percent shooting in the last two games. We thought that this duo would face James and Anthony Davis in at least one of the last two playoffs. This was unsuccessful. But the champions Los Angeles consecutive? It’s definitely in play after the dominant victory of Game 4 on Monday.
More coverage of the playoffs in the NBA:
• Trae Young and the art of drawing fouls
• What is the best game for the NBA Finals?
• Kevin Durant and the Nets Falter with programming in a single star
• The suns send nuggets after the dominant performance of Chris Paul