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Clippers vs. Trail Blazers: LAC Preseason Game 1

The LA Clippers tip-off their 2013 preseason campaign tonight versus the Portland Trail Blazers at 7 p.m.

The Clippers newly-minted “defensive identity” will be on display tonight, with new additions JJ Reddick  and Jared Dudley making their LAC starting debut alongside the usual suspects of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan.

With the focus being less on lobs and more on defensive stops, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Clippers will stay true to their announcement that Lob City is dead.

J.J. Reddick will immediately provide LAC with a luxury they did not possess last season: the ability to stretch the floor which should also open up the lanes for Chris Paul, or at the very least, it will give Paul a viable target to kick out to in case a drive to the hoop collapses.

As far as playing time, coach Doc Rivers plans on letting his eyes guide his rotations during the first game of the 2013 preseason:

“I’m really going to go let my eyes tell me, I tend to play guys a little bit more in the first game, then back them off and then ramp them back up.”— Doc Rivers

Although the games “don’t count,” preseason action will provide the players, coaches, and fans alike with a measure of how well the Clippers are gelling together, and how effectively they’re translating Doc Rivers’ system into measurable results.

For a full game preview, please check out the official Clippers Pregame Report.

Training Camp Roster via Clippers.com

NO. PLAYER POS. HT. WT. FROM
17 Louis Amundson F 6’9″ 225 UNLV/USA
22 Matt Barnes F 6’7″ 226 UCLA/USA
25 Reggie Bullock G 6’7″ 205 North Carolina/USA
2 Darren Collison G 6’0″ 175 UCLA/USA
11 Jamal Crawford G 6’5″ 200 Michigan/USA
8 Brandon Davies F 6’9″ 235 BYU/USA
9 Jared Dudley G-F 6’7″ 225 Boston College/USA
21 Mustapha Farrakhan G 6’4″ 175 Virginia/USA
14 JaMychal Green F 6’8″ 240 Alabama/USA
34 Willie Green G 6’3″ 201 Detroit Mercy/USA
32 Blake Griffin F 6’10” 251 Oklahoma/USA
15 Ryan Hollins C 7’0″ 240 UCLA/USA
33 Antawn Jamison F 6’9″ 235 North Carolina/USA
6 DeAndre Jordan C 6’11” 265 Texas A & M/USA
0 Byron Mullens C 7’0″ 275 Ohio State/USA
3 Chris Paul G 6’0″ 175 Wake Forest/USA
4 J.J. Redick G 6’4″ 190 Duke/USA
5 Maalik Wayns G 6’1″ 195 Villanova/USA

SM Photo of the Day: Chris Paul Running The Floor

Starting today, I’m going to start posting my preferred Sports Social Media Photo of the Day as a way to stay committed to at least sharing one item that caught my eye in the sports social media landscape.

Having grown up playing point guard, it’s only natural that this Clippers’ posted photo of Chris Paul at training camp caught my eye.

The angle of this shot is unique in that we don’t often get bird’s eye angles of players in action, and when we do, they’re often not great.

This image, however, captures the freedom and control that comes with running the floor as a point guard. No one else in sight, it’s the subject at hand’s role to move the ball up-court, in control, while keeping an eye on the players ahead.

In this shot we see potential. In this shot, what we don’t see augments the value of what is visible. In this shot, I can relate and I am immediately transported to the multitude of games that I played as a kid.

Even the practice uniforms adds intrinsic value because it’s not an official game. It’s a setting and a situation we could all find ourselves in if we continue to play the game we love. No matter how long I spend away from the court, when I pick up that ball, I’m back in this exact mindset and feeling.

I need a framed copy of this. Count it!

Chris Paul - LA Clippers - Training Camp
Chris Paul – Running The Floor

Clippers Finding A New Purpose in Doc’s System as Training Camp Begins

With the start of the NBA season fast approaching, the Clippers have moved on from media day into training camp at UCSD’s RIMAC arena.

Reports from those on-site are that new coach, Doc Rivers, is instituting some actual coaching into the offensive system—something that’s sure to be foreign to a former Vinny Del Negro coached team.

Rivers distinguishes his current motion-oriented changes from running style offenses by pointing out:

“Every team talks about running. We want to be a running team. But for us, we really want to be a motion team. We want to be a team that’s in constant motion, constant movement, so it’s very difficult to load up on us.”

By contrast, previous years’ offensive sets consisted of a whole lot of Chris Paul doing everything and anything to destabilize a defense while everyone stood around watching. It was either that, or Blake Griffin receiving the ball in the mid-post and backing down his defender with 50% efficacy.

By having retained the services of Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford, the Clippers’ bench maintained a viable level of competitiveness, something that played into the scrimmages held Wednesday which resulted in the B-team winning the first game. The starters took game two in retaliation while Rivers reflected on the positives of friendly competition.


Stellar offensive plays were never in shortage at Lob City in the past couple of seasons. What was very badly needed, if this team is to take it to the next level, was some form of defensive acumen that would complement the offensive skill set of Paul and Griffin. Fortunately for the Clips, Doc Rivers is known for having built some of the most defensively minded teams in recent memory.  Said Blake Griffin, “The 1st hour & a half of practice was all defense. We didn’t do 1 thing offensively, except some shooting.”


In addition to driving up the overall defensive expectations of his players, Doc Rivers has been keen to focus on one of his best assets on hand: DeAndre Jordan.  The Clippers’ big man, though spectacular off the oops, has often been inconsistent on the defensive end. The length, size and youth of DeAndre gives Doc a lot to play with, but ultimately he understands that it all starts with mental accountability.

“I’m asking him to do them better and more consistently and to take ownership of it and not get sidetracked on the [offensive] side,” Rivers said. “If you’re a great defensive player, you’re a great defensive player 100% of the time. You can’t be a great defensive player half of the time because you didn’t get the ball once or twice. That can’t sidetrack you. It’s got to be ‘I live for my defense, and my offense I’ll get. But I can’t let it affect my defense. Nothing affects my defense.'” – Doc Rivers as quotes in the LA Times.

The quotes and reports coming out of the early days of training camp all point to a new iteration of a talented team that can perhaps harness its true potential by maintaining a high level of offensive play while staying engaged defensively. Chris Paul has already expressed his endorsement for the newly installed changes saying “It keeps everybody engaged on the defensive end and keeps everyone involved on the offensive end.”

While talent and poise have provided the wind that has carried the Clippers into the playoffs, it is a new identity and mental toughness burnished by a defensive focus which can perhaps finally get them over the hump and into, at the very least, the conference finals.

Exciting times in LAC land, can’t wait to see how the rest of training camp plays out.

For a video recap of the day’s events, check out this link from the Clippers’ official training camp update.

Clippers Training Camp Video - UCSD

Blake Griffin & Dr. Drain Deliver in New Jordan Ad

Blake Griffin‘s new Jordan commercial for the Super.Fly 2s lives up to the ad standards we’ve come to expect from Griffin.

Featuring a character that fancies himself “Dr. Drain,” who happens to resemble Spike Lee’s Mars Blackmon, the ad is effective in providing a throwback feel to what basketball is all about:  the playground, pick-up games, and teammates with pronounced basketball flaws.

The black and white look, the use of an old school song like “I’m Your Puppet,” and a shot of Blake Griffin and Dr. Drain at the ice cream truck further adds to the welcomed summery throwback feeling.

So, without further ado, here’s Dr. Drain making it rain:

Whether you like him or not, you have to appreciate the great ads that result from the brands he represents (and if you follow him on his personal social media channels, you’ll also notice that the ads very much reflect his off-screen, silly persona).  I particularly liked how Rob Mahoney described it over at the Point Forward:

Pairing Blake Griffin’s perfect deadpan with an outwardly goofy character works so well for all involved, and the concept of Griffin’s basketball chemistry with the young chucker is brilliantly simple. Funny, charming and exceptionally well done.

Also: It seems safe to say that Drain leads the park in ‘Kobe Assists.’

Additionally, to mark the launch of the Super.Fly 2, and to capitalize on Blake Griffin’s most recognized skill—throwing it down after a lob—jordan.com created the “Lift Off With Blake” user interactive page.  Fans can film themselves throwing an alley-oop to Blake using their smartphones and then upload it to jordan.com/liftoff for a chance to have it featured on the site.

Grant Hill Retires From the NBA

After 19 years in the league, one of its most iconic stars is hanging up the laces and officially retiring.

Grant Hill officially announced his retirement over the weekend, before game six of the Eastern Conference Finals.

I’m glad to say I’m done.  I’m officially retired, moving on from playing. I had a great run.

I’m announcing it now. … I’ve been hinting at it the last few years. You get to a point where you just don’t want to do it anymore but I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve loved it.

Grant Hill

If you grew up in the 90s, or if you were already grown up but still appreciated decent marketing ploys that stuck to you like gum unto shoes, you will forever associate one of the classiest ballers with the unforgettable line: Grant Hill drinks Sprite! 

We appreciate Grant Hill as much for that commercial gem as we do for his on-the-court skills, which at the early stages of his career seemed unstoppable (probably because he drank Sprite).

Although injuries played an unfortunate role in his career, nobody doubts the gamesmanship and the all-around talent that Grant Hill brought to the table.

We’ll miss seeing you on the court, Grant.  I will, however, continue to promote Sprite because of you.

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