Sunday, April 27, 2014

Clippers - Warriors Game Four, Or What Distraction Really Looks Like

Rain Makers
There's a lot of noise in sports about how distraction hurts teams, how one player can't put himself above the others, and how you can't tolerate that kind of thing, regardless of the talent of the individual doing the distraction. Sports teams are said to be fragile little bubbles of focus, ready to be spooked by any shiny item or petty disagreement, and the job of management is to eliminate all of that. Particularly steely or virtuous players are able to overcome that, but distraction is all-powerful, until it's not.

Which leads us to the first quarter of today's Clippers-Warriors game, where the Clips came out as flat as you might expect from a team that was up 2-1, and reacting to an owner that is eclipsing the league with his mouth. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan picked up three fouls apiece, Stephen Curry finally got loose and rained down threes from everywhere, the Roaracle crowd went into full bloodlust mode, and the Clips didn't get an o-board until halfway through the third quarter. It wasn't a blowout, but it was also never in serious doubt.

What was winning this series for the Clips is their bench, and the fact that the Warriors are frauds. Jamal Crawford brought them back into the game for a while in this one, and if Steve Blake has had a good moment in this series, I haven't seen it. Even in their good stretches, the Dubs are so turnover-prone and pretty-pass happy that runs don't stick, and it leads to weak moments on defense. They play to the scoreboard, and when they aren't making threes, they are vulnerable. The Clips have better bigs and home-court advantage, and that should be enough to tilt the series in their direction.

But if it doesn't?

No one will credit the Dubs' Mark Jackson for putting in Draymond Green into the starting lineup. No one will think about how Andre Iguodala got back on track, or how Harrison Barnes is giving them bench utility, or that Curry just could not be denied over seven games.

There will be only one person that history will give any influence to, and he's the one that never scored a point, grabbed a rebound, made an assist or a defensive play or played a minute.

And that's a distraction the entire Association can't tolerate.

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule