Clippers vs Thunder II: chatting with Steve Perrin of Clips Nation

Stephen Dunn

Steve Perrin stops by again to continue our discussion about the Thunder and the Clippers. This time we had a free flowing discussion where we hit on a number of topics.

Thunder vs Clippers Part 2 is happening tonight. As we did before game 1, we turn to the managing editor of Clips Nation, Steve Perrin, to hash out all sorts of points of discussion.

This time around, Steve and I had a live Google chat discussion, so the result is a more free flowing range of chatter on a number of different topics.

Also, it is the hope that Steve will be stopping by our house later this afternoon to answer any Clippers questions we might have, so be sure to leave your questions and discussion topics in the comments below!

***

Steve Perrin
So, I'm no fan of Ibaka's on court shenanigans, but I thought he got a raw deal in the last game.
My readers are all pissed at me for defending him, but I thought he did very little to warrant an ejection. What did you guys think of all that?

J.A. Sherman
Yes, I saw your readers took you to task, because clearly Ibaka is persona non grata in Clipperland these days.
I think that everyone got a raw deal, honestly. I didn't think his push and then cocked arm warranted it nor do I think Barnes' 2-handed push did either. And I don't even know why Griffin got T'd up too.
So I have to conclude that it is because of the context in which the event occurred - there's a little bit of bad blood going on between the two front lines. So I counter with this question - should context matter when evaluating on-court techs?

Steve Perrin
Yeah, the Griffin T was unexpected. The inconsistency is of course what pisses me off more than anything. I didn't mind Barnes' ejection because he was so clearly escalating things... but it's not like the NBA always ejects that third guy... it's all so arbitrary.
No Barnes tomorrow night... but I'm sure there will be some more pushing with Blake and Serge. Clearly Ibaka does NOT like Griffin.

J.A. Sherman
Indeed. Honest question, not antagonistic - do you think Griffin is guilty of some Dennis Rodman-like play, where he intentionally grabs and pins arms to potentially instigate? Sometimes guys get tangled, but other times you can see it is intentional.

Steve Perrin
He's clearly doing the arm pin thing... that was 100% intentional with Ibaka last week. Lots of guys do it... I don't really understand it honestly... but I guess it worked there, got Serge to react.
Blake works hard on a basketball court and he's very physical... but a LOT of guys have issues with him (Ibaka, Cousins, Randolph, Lee all come to mind) which suggests that he's doing a little extra. Something about smoke and fire... I forget how it goes exactly.

Does Blake still have fans in Oklahoma, or has the sooner state joined the legions of haters?
--
J.A. Sherman
I think it's divided. He's still a hometown hero, but because of the history between the two teams, it's fun to boo him. And that's ok, I think. It's fun to be able to have players whom you like to root against, even if they have local ties.
I think Ibaka has this statuesque physique but he doesn't always understand that playing down low requires a physicality like football linemen. It's all about leverage and position, and when he gets muscled out, he reacts inappropriately.

The nut-shot was another case where that happened. He didn't like how Griffin was holding him off, so he went for a kill shot instead of doing basketball.

Steve Perrin
Has Serge had issues with other guys? I think he's picked up three career flagrants against Griffin now.

J.A. Sherman
Not to my knowledge, and he's generally a very sanguine person. I'm going to make a complete conjecture now that may be totally wrong, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Steve Perrin
Props on sanguine, btw

J.A. Sherman
I think that because Ibaka came to the game late and arrived in the NBA by way of the Euroleague, he had a perception about the way the game of basketball works. However, when he arrived in the NBA, he has been slow to realize that it's a completely different game, especially on the blocks because of how strong and athletic guys are. When your perception collides with reality, you either get frustrated or you adapt. Yao Ming was another guy where it took a long time for him to realize how to use his physical traits in a naturally aggressive way and not simply get frustrated at a game that he wasn't yet familiar with.

For example, would a guy like Reggie Evans have a place in the Euroleague? Maybe not, but he does in the NBA because he understands how to deal with guys like Ibaka. Ibaka needs to continue to grow in this maturation process.

Steve Perrin
Interesting... From my perspective, the rise from unknown to shot-blocking specialist to borderline-all-star/third best player on a great team has been a tough transition. Ibaka worked great as a quiet force -- he hasn't figured out the spotlight, it seems to me.

Changing subjects...Westbrook has averaged 29 points on solid shooting the past three games. Safe to say he's completely back?


J.A. Sherman
Yes and no.

I say yes because he looks physically fine. He had a nasty crossover move against the Nuggets on Monday that helped seal the game. The knee doesn't appear to be a problem. Also, his jump shot mechanics look better than ever. He's taken great strides in his spot-up shooting.

However, he is not finishing at the rim well at all, and this is really hurting the team. He's eluding his man with ease and getting there, but missing a ton of shots. This results in fast break opportunities the other way.

It's a problem now, but I'm not totally worried about it because he does this *every* year. For the first 3rd of the season he exhibits the same traits as he tries to manage his speed and explosiveness.

Steve Perrin
He is explosive, that much is certain. If he's hitting his jump shot more, that's bad news for opponents

J.A. Sherman
The full repertoire will get there, but I suspect you're going to see him miss a lot of shots at the rim Thursday night.
What do you think LA is going to try to do to address his play? The Spurs use an effective zoning scheme where they force him into uncomfortable areas and dare him to shoot. Do you see Doc Rivers doing something similar?

Steve Perrin
Well, if it were a little later in the season, I would say yes. But Doc is having trouble getting the Clippers to handle the basics of his defense -- so adding in opponent specific wrinkles may not be realistic right now
Doc's schemes are predicated on limiting penetration, which is obviously a good start against RW. I think he'll keep it pretty simple and hope they do well with that. Truth be told, the second half of the OKC game in LA was the best the Clippers have played on defense this season.

J.A. Sherman
A return volley - how much of that was due to Ibaka's absence? Because he was carving up the Clips in the 1st half, especially slipping screens and getting to the rim unencumbered.

Steve Perrin
OKC is a top heavy roster without a lot of help on the bench, and losing their third best player was clearly a big factor.

Not to mention that the Clippers have been slow to pick up on Doc's rotation schemes, meaning that when they cut off Westbrook, someone is open. That someone in the first half was Ibaka, diving to the rim for an easy two. In the second half? Some combo or Gomes/Adams/Collison

J.A. Sherman
I know you must have been trembling in your boots to see Ryan Gomes starting the 2nd half.

Steve Perrin
not as scary, for sure.

Gomes shot that one jumper with more confidence than I saw from him in two full seasons with the Clippers

J.A. Sherman
And followed it with 4 fouls in 6 minutes. I think you guys came out ahead there.
One unintended consequence too is that suddenly Thunder fans started saying, "oh, huh...I guess Kendrick Perkins DOES have some value."

Steve Perrin
Funny thing, that.

Perk is a terrible starter... but he still has value. Not having him at all clearly hurt... and asking Steven Adams to do more showed he still has a long way to go
nice reality check for the fans, I would think

J.A. Sherman
Yep. And that came on the tails of pretty much the entire world calling on Adams to be named the starter. Perhaps he's not quite ready to face elite front lines yet.

Steve Perrin
He's impressive, and WAY ahead of where he was at Pitt. But he's got some developing to do yet.
I see Thabo has made a couple of threes lately. That must feel good. Can't have a 3D guy without the 3.

J.A. Sherman
Very true. I think the weight of the situation got him out of sorts a bit. The team was requiring him to expand his offensive game in preparation for a protracted Westbrook absence, AND Thabo is in a contract year. He was rushing everything and was even missing point blank layups. It was painful. Again though, he has proven his worth because when he's making shots, it changes everything.

Speaking of which, how do you like your SG acquisition? It sure seems like CP3 does.

Steve Perrin
Redick is terrific... and a perfect complement to Paul. He's an elite shooter and works tirelessly off the ball, which is good, since Paul will almost always have the ball.

He's also better than people think at many of the things he's supposed to be bad at. He's not just a stand still shooter by any means but a scorer who can make plays in a variety of ways. He's also a decent defender, who's an excellent help defender because of his high BBall IQ

J.A. Sherman
He's been playing in obscurity for so long it is easy to forget that he's in the same class as a guy like Kyle Korver.
When I saw that signing though, I immediately thought, "wow, LA just got better"

Steve Perrin
The only question I had on the signing was whether they could have gotten more.... Bledose is awfully good, as he's showing in Phoenix...

J.A. Sherman
I'd say that shift has worked out for everyone. Bledsoe is coming into his own and you can see CP3's influence on his PG skills.

Steve Perrin
but I loved the upgrade at the wing positions. Redick has been everything I had hoped he'd be... Dudley has had a slow start, partly because of some nagging injuries
The Bledsoe trade is a win-win.. he plays the same position as Paul, so he had to be moved. It's just a question of getting greedy, wanting even more. But no complaints really.

J.A. Sherman
The Dudley signing was so smart. I would have loved to see OKC get him. He is just a guy that needs to be on a competent team. He learned so much under Nash's tutelage so he was ready to work with CP3

Steve Perrin
What I always say about Dudley is he's a good on a good team, and bad on a bad team. He's back on a good team, and should thrive. His knees are really sore right now and he hasn't been his best... but he's solid. Which is what the Clippers need there.

Should we wrap this up? We've been at it for an hour now. Do you want to make a prediction for the game?

J.A. Sherman
I think that the Thunder are going to be playing mad most of the game after what happened last week, but it will backfire in the 1st half. I think they will make a 4th quarter push and grab another win after coming from behind. Call it 100-95, Thunder win.

Steve Perrin
I'm just hoping it's not a blow out. Clippers have a lot going against them... second game of a back-to-back, no Barnes, OKC at full strength and mad from last week. If Paul has a big game, they can keep it close, but yeah, Thunder by 5 sounds about right in the end.

This was fun. Always a pleasure chatting with anyone who can use sanguine in a sentence.

J.A. Sherman
Oh, and my final question - who is the first player to get a tech tonight?

Steve Perrin
Let's go with Westbrook on the technical. Just a hunch.

J.A. Sherman
Not a bad bet. I'm going to go with CP3 because he's having a tough time getting calls in the 1st half

***

We hope you enjoyed our discussion and it inspired you to think up some questions of your own. Leave them in the comments below!

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker