As the Los Angeles Clippers prepare for their home opener tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, thoughts turn to the pace of the game, especially since Portland is playing their second game of a back-to-back set. The Trail Blazers defeated the Phoenix Suns at home last night, 106-92.
Over at the wonderful Clippers' blog Clips Nation, Steve Perrin looks for the Clippers to run more often:
Blake Griffin is on an entirely different level of athleticism. So yes, they should look to push the tempo, if only for those two guys. I did see some encouraging signs on this front in pre-season. The Clippers, who may have a strength advantage at almost every position on any given night, looked to establish deep post position early in the clock, even when they didn't have a traditional fast break opportunity available. They did this with several players - Griffin, Kaman, Gomes. This is actually the key to playing at a high pace - any team will run on steals and long rebounds, but do you attack with pace even when the pure numbers advantage isn't there? And do you attack after makes? Several times during the pre-season, Griffin ended up with a transition dunk after a made basket by the opponent. That tells me they do indeed want to run. We'll start to get an idea tonight. The Blazers play at the slowest pace in the league, and part of that is playing transition defense.is best in the open floor, and the simple fact of the matter is that
Playing at an up-tempo pace can lead to the Clippers getting to 100 points, perhaps faster than Portland. Which brings us to Lawler's Law, one of the finest facts the universe as ever known. Coined by longtime Clippers' announcer Ralph Lawler, the law is simply this: first team to score 100 points wins. Last season, during Clippers' games, "Lawler's Law" went 56-2, after going 50-7 before that. In Clippers games since 1978, the team scoring 100 points first was 1801-156, a 92.0% winning percentage.
The Clippers have 14 players on their roster, which means two players will have to be listed as inactive tonight. Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reported from this morning's practice:
Word from Clipper shootaround- inactive players tonight are Craig Smith and Willie Warren. Smith's back is still an issue.
Tonight is one of four Clippers games this season that will be televised on ESPN.
For more Clippers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Clips Nation.