esqtvd wrote: wco81 wrote:
Watching game 7 Spurs at Clippers on NBA TV.
Didn’t see this game at the time.
Back and forth game all game long.
End of 3rd quarter CP3 banks in a 3. Blake comes over for a high 5.
CP3 leaves him hanging. He gives a 5 to other teammates and Blake still has his hand up.
Then they cut away.
They weren’t beefing back then were they?
Good call. That's how I remember Lob City--CP had his half of the court at the right elbow, Blake on the left in the block. Each would operate with separate teammates as the occasion arose but it never seemed to be a 5-man team out there.
I remember CP and Blake being a team the first year or so, but gradually drifting into separate orbits both on and off the court [except for their short-lived internet TV show]. Looking back, their teammates say there was no open hostility but the atmosphere was always kinda weird. I think CP and BG, looking back, realize that they blew it and they should have found a way to make each other--and thus the team as a whole--better. The whole was always no more than the sum of its parts and sometimes less. There was no magic, no synergy, no 1+1=3.
Even on that last play, CP threw the ball in to Blake, got it back, and then hero-balled the win on what I consider a pretty lucky shot [see above]. Why I just can't get that sentimental about that team and I think they know they blew it too, because of their [relative] youth and egos. I think they wish they could do it all over again, but that ship has sailed.
As nice as this all sounds, them having more synergy would not have made up for the lacking the roster had vs their opponents.
Those teams with supposed lack of synergy had the best offense in the league in 13-14 and 14-15 while starting a SF that teams played off of on defense and in 14-15 having a bad bench. That 14-15 team had the league's best half court offense, this was the season GS won 67 games. The problems that persists are that they were very small at SG,, which since they were small at PG and lacked length at PF, that's a problem. Then they didn't have any quality backup SF's (Dudley was trash as a Clipper, no backup SF in 14-15), in general they did not have enough defensive talent and the quality bench depth was never there. If you want to add, even with Blake expanding his range to long mid-range, having one primary scoring big that needed space (Blake), but who had to be a spacer and another big that could only play at the rim limited their spacing.
Jamal Crawford did what he could with his skills, but he's the type of player that if you have to rely on to perform in the post-season, you're likely limiting yourself in terms of being a championship team. The team had two seasons where they had any chance, 13-14 and 14-15. In 14-15, Austin Rivers, fresh off New Orleans where he was looking like a bust was a key bench player. Did he shoot well in the playoffs overall? Yes, but he was still a bad defender, not because of effort or athleticism, but because of positioning, fouling, IQ. The Clippers when they were actually contending got the worst version of Austin Rivers that they had as he got better over the years. In 14-15 he was just a borderline NBA player and he was their 7th man and playing about 16-17 mpg in the playoffs for the games he came off the bench (started two due to Paul injury).
12-13, 15-16, 16-17 there was no chance of contending due to injuries, and of course if we're being real, in 12-13, DJ was still getting benched for Odom who was on drugs at the time, and Blake was not at his best, so that team was not going to beat SA, even if they stayed healthy, beat Memphis, then beat the injured OKC and got to the WCF.
I think sometimes that period is romanticized in the sense of "oh if they just fit better together, they would have done this or that". No, what should be said is, "if they had better talent and depth and then on the other hand, better health", then maybe, but simply having more synergy was not going to solve their issues. Paul and Griffin's synergy was quite good for their skills and their roster. Good synergy doesn't mean you must be the Warriors with players that are almost perfect fits or the 13-14 Spurs with shooters and passers all over the roster. Teams rarely have that. The Heat's synergy with Lebron/Wade/Bosh was never great, Clippers was better, but Heat had superior talent. The Thunder synergy with Durant/Westbrook/Harden and then just Durant/Westbrook was much worse, but they had size, defense and top level talent. Lebron/Irving/Love synergy, it wasn't bad, but nothing exceptional. Kyrie was basically just an catch and shoot or iso outlet for Lebron, they didn't play off each other in any special way, but they had Lebron a top 2-3 GOAT to most people and a lot of talent. George and Kawhi don't have any special synergy so far, in fact they might never have as good synergy as even those Clippers teams were able to get, but these current Clippers teams out-talent those teams (on both ends when I speak of talent) from top to bottom.
I've linked this before, but here's a long compilation of that 14-15 offense:
The thing was beautiful. They had great early offense options that could transition into multiple options. A quick seal transition option that can become a wing pick and roll, DHO with Redick or post up depending on the reads is just one example. If the early pass to Blake wasn't there you had DJ trailing and they could go into early pick and roll with CP/DJ. After an opponent score they could run another quick pick and roll option with CP/DJ when Blake is the trailer because the defense converging can give him an open shot (DJ as trailer there wouldn't make sense because he can't hit the shot). The way Paul and Blake were set up on opposite sides was for maximizing spacing whenever possible. When you run pick and roll with Blake, even if you pull DJ away from the basket, his man is going to stay close to the basket, so the lane is clogged, which is why sometimes they ran elbow pick and roll instead of high, so that Blake is already closer to the basket giving the defense less time to rotate. When you run pick and roll with DJ, his man now has to come out and guard, this opens up the floor more, and then if Blake's man on the opposite block helps, that opens up Blake who now has options, shoot, drive, find DJ rolling for a lob, find the corner shooter if their man converged to help on the rolling DJ.
We have to understand that when opponents are content playing off Matt Barnes, when they are content playing a little off Blake Griffin and having him shoot because DJ is clogging the lane. When the starting lineup has no other perimeter player who is a ball handler, and when the bench is limited in talent, then defenses can have moments where they muck things up and you have to go to individual talent. Most late game shots are not anything special when it comes to synergy, you're either having isolation or something mucky, so there's no surprise in the Clippers not doing some beautiful play to beat SA, but all series they were abusing SA with the high horns double pick and roll.
Sure you could have had better synergy with Paul and Griffin, and that better synergy would be on of these two things. 1) Blake has longer arms and can play center and protect the rim, so you have this:
Or, we stay in real life and Blake is who he is, and you have this:
Suddenly the synergy gets better because the floor is spaced, the team is bigger, etc. I think it is unfair to say there was a synergy problem. They can only work with what they had skill wise and roster wise, and in terms of their skills and their roster, they did a very good job in meshing their games together, especially in that 14-15 season.