The Los Angeles Clippers started their 2012-2013 NBA season off on the right foot, and not even Saturday's loss could take away from a solid opening week. The Clippers won two of three games, including a win against the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the battle of Staples Center.
Just three games into the season, it is ridiculously early to think about awards, but Jamal Crawford has to be the favorite for NBA Sixth Man of the Year after the season's first week (especially now that James Harden is starting, and dominating, in Houston). Crawford scored 29 points off the bench in the season-opening win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, the most points scored in a Clippers debut.
In three games, Crawford averaged 25.7 points on 53.5% shooting, including 47.4% (9-for-19) from three-point range. Crawofrd added 27 points in Saturday's loss to the Golden State Warriors. But Crawford isn't just hitting from long range. The man with the Twitter handle @JCrossover has been doing just that — ask Metta World Peace — and, among other things, has attempted 26 free throws in three games.
But Crawford isn't alone in getting to the charity stripe.
Blake Griffin, who has produced a relatively quiet 15.0 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, has attempted 30 free throws so far, has attempted 26 of his own. Chris Paul, who had 15 assists and one turnover in Friday night's win over the Lakers, averaged 19.0 points and 12.3 assists for the week, leads the team with 30 free throw attempts, including 20 against Golden State (he made 19).
As a team, the Clippers average 36 free throw attempts per game, by far the most in the league.
That is three Clippers averaging 8.7 or more free throws per game. Again, it is absurdly early, but to put that in perspective, there were only three players in the NBA last season who attempted at least eight free throws per contest (minimum 40 games): Dwight Howard (10.6), Kevin Love (8.4), and LeBron James (8.1).
Last week's games
A look back at the week, which included all three games at Staples Center:
Tuesday - Clippers 101, Memphis 92: Paul sparked a 28-15 fourth quarter for the Clippers, who beat the team they ousted in the first round of last year's playoffs.
Friday - Clippers 105, Lakers 95: In reality the game didn't seem that close, as the younger, deeper Clips pulled away in the second half.
Saturday - Golden State 114, Clippers 110: Paul's driving go-ahead shot with seven seconds left was disallowed after he was called for an offensive foul, a fitting end to a game that featured 91 free throws and nine technical fouls.
- Record: 2-1
- Points per game: 105.3
- Points per possession: 1.088
- Points allowed per game: 100.3
- Points allowed per possession: 1.036
- Effective field goal percentage: 51.5%
The week ahead
- Monday: vs. Cleveland (7:30 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket)
- Wednesday: vs. San Antonio (7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN, Prime Ticket)
- Thursday: at Portland (7:30 p.m. PT, TNT)
- Sunday: vs. Atlanta (12:30 p.m. PT, Prime Ticket)