This slumping edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent the surging Los Angeles Clippers.
Yup, that’s not a misprint. We said “surging” and Clippers in the same sentence. Even though the Clip-joint is 1-2 in their last three games, they are 5-2 in their last seven runs and have played much, much better in recent weeks. That recent run of solid play includes an 11-2 record in their last 13 games at the Staples Center. Meanwhile our Sixers are officially in their first slump of 2011 having lost two straight and 3-of-their-last-4 games. In addition to some match up problems and injuries, the fact that this game features two teams trending in opposite directions is another reason why we don’t like the Sixers chances tonight.
Obviously the Clippers will present some problems for the Sixers on the interior. Unless we can restrict Blake “The Poster Child” Griffin to shooting jumpers, he is going to be a nightmare to deal with tonight. Frankly we don’t see any of the Sixer bigs being able to guard him in half-court or keep up with him on the break, so you can book him for 20 & 10 tonight. Plus his last game at Memphis may have been his worst all year, so he’ll be extra motivated to wipe that disaster from the memory of every SportsCenter viewer. Combine that extra incentive with the fact that Griffin must be licking his chops over tonight’s match up with a visibly tiring (and reportedly injured) Elton Brand and the sky is the limit for Blake tonight. The Sixers will probably also have problems with the Clips other bigs as well. Keeping 7-footer DeAndre Jordan off the boards (7 rpg.) will be a big hurdle for the Sixers as will controlling Chris Kaman (12 & 7 per) when he is in the game.
Also, is it me or does Mo Williams always give the Sixers fits, no matter what team he is on?
A tired and slumping Sixers team that faces matchup issues inside and on the perimeter leads us to believe the Sixers losing streak extends to three games tonight. As always we hope and pray we are wrong.
For a little more insight into the Clippers team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Breene Murphy at clipperblog.com to answer two questions on his Los Angeles team from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Clips squad from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : The LAC have won 5 out of their last 7. In addition to their PG (Mo Williams in B-Diddy out), what else has changed for the Clips recently to help produce these winning ways?
Breene Murphy at clipperblog.com : Kaman has been fantastic off the bench. He has averaged 12.6 points on 53 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks since he has returned from injury, giving the Clippers a real bench threat, which is needed since Eric Gordon re-aggravated his wrist injury and Foye has been starting in his place.
Also, Eric Bledsoe has been playing the best he has since the beginning of the season. His improved play started when Gordon went down for the second time and he scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to will the Clippers to a win over the Nuggets. He has scored 19 and 23 points in his last two games and he’s actually starting to make smart plays, which if he ever does that on a regular basis, he’ll transform into a very good point guard in the NBA.
Philadunkia : The Sixers are notoriously weak on the inside defensively, so do expect that from the Clips we will see a heavy dose of Chris Kaman and Blake Griffin getting the ball on the blocks tonight?
Breene Murphy at clipperblog.com : Yes for Blake, Yes (sort of) for Kaman. Without Eric Gordon, the Clippers get a lot of their scoring from the interior, so it won’t be so much a opponent specific plan of attack so much as standard operating procedure. Blake likes to get his touches on the left block recently (even though he was so strong on the right for the majority of the year) and also in pick and roll situations. Kaman, however, hasn’t been as aggressive on the interior, instead picking apart offenses with jumpers from the baseline and the top of the key. Maybe the Clips will put him in the paint more, he does have a good post game, but we haven’t seen much of it lately.
Two Points of Analysis from Breene Murphy at clipperblog.com
1) Watch how the Clippers go for alley-oops. They find them in the half court, usually when Blake is fronted by his man in the post and he spins behind or when DeAndre’s man leaves for a weakside block, and they also love transition alley-oops. The transition oops have flummoxed opponents and the Clippers themselves as they try them from all over the court, sometimes throwing the ball into the stands.
2) Also, Ryan Gomes is questionable and the Clippers have been getting very little from the small forward spot. But I’ll be interested to see if one of the Clipper small forwards (Al-Farouq Aminu or Jamario Moon) has a great audition game against the 76ers.