FanPost

Game #40 Preview: Los Angeles Clippers at New Jersey Nets

At least they're not facing the Heat. After getting smacked down by Miami, the Nets head home and face the Clippers. We know what the big matchup is, and I'll get to that later. As for the Clippers, they're coming off of a one point loss at Minnesota, and are percentage points ahead of the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead.

Let's take a look at how these two teams match up:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free Throw rate

Turnover rate

Offensive Rebounding %

Effective Field Goal %

Opponent's Effective Field Goal %

Los Angeles

104.3

102.6

29.4

13.05

29.12

49.84

48.3

New Jersey

100.3

108.3

28.1

15.01

28.60

47.93

51.68

League Average

100.6

100.7

28.1

14.02

26.94

48.1

48.2

Taking a look at the Clippers, "Lob City" has lived up to their name on the offensive end. I thought they would be playing at a faster pace, but it's a bit of a moot point if you're 7th in offensive efficiency. It also helps that they're a good offensive rebounding team as well. This is a repeat line: "The three point line will be a critical aspect of this game." The Clippers and Nets love taking threes (5 and 2 respectively in attempts per game), and are not very good at defending them either (second and third worst opponent three point percentage).

As for New Jersey, as evidenced (again) by their loss to the Heat, they're pretty bad at defense. Against an offense of this caliber, they're gonna need to be at least somewhat decent on the defensive end because they should be able to do some good work on offense. And much like the Clippers, they're a good offensive rebounding team so they'll have some extra chances to work with.

And before we jump, let's take a trip down memory lane with old friend Kenyon Martin:


Tip-off is at 7:30. Jump!

Point Guard: Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams

Say hi to the real "best point guard in the world." Whatever you like in a basketball player, Paul is great at it. Efficient shooting? A .584 TS% and .532 eFG are mighty fine. Good at rebounding? A rebound rate of 5.7 is perfectly cromulent for a point guard. Great passer? You can look at his #5 ranking in Assist % and be impressed. Or you could ask his teammates instead. Paul was always the best PG in the league, it just seems like people had forgotten about his excellence.

Williams only played 26 minutes vs. Miami, so he should be ready for this one. Williams typically gets up for the big time point guards, and Paul is the best of the best. The Clips are third worst in opponent free throw rate, so I think it's safe to expect Williams to drive to the basket a lot in this one. The funny thing about Williams vs. Paul is that while Williams is often considered the top PG in the league, he's never outdone Paul when looking at the numbers. They've been in the league the same amount of time, and every year Paul has outperformed him when looking at PER, Win Shares and Wins Produced.

Advantage: Clippers

Shooting Guard: Randy Foye vs. MarShon Brooks

Chauncey Billups was the starter at the beginning of the season, but he suffered an Achilles injury that ended his season. This is Foye's third team, and his performance has essentially stayed the same throughout his career. His shooting has never been good (career .470 eFG%), so this season (.462 eFG%) falls right in line with the rest.

I figured Brooks was gonna have a poor shooting night against the Heat, but 5-11 (2-4 from 3) is acceptable. Now that Lopez is gone, Brooks becomes the #2 option for the Nets on offense. In truth, I'd rather a rookie not have that kind of responsibility, but he's all the Nets have besides Williams.

Advantage: Nets

Small Forward: Caron Butler vs. DeShawn Stevenson

I was a little surprised Butler got a 3 year deal from the Clippers following his injury last year. With Paul & Griffin around, Butler usually gets a good amount of threes up, but his shooting in that category is down from last year. It could be him working his way back from the injury or just a season long slump, but either way come playoff time, the Clips will need a big contribution out of Caron.

I feel like a broken record saying this, but Stevenson is lucky defense pays his bills.

Advantage: Clippers

Power Forward: Blake Griffin vs. Kris Humphries

We all know Griffin is a fantastic finisher (72% at the rim), but one flaw in his game is his free throw shooting. For a guy who draws as many fouls as he does, you'd love it if he could get his free throw percentage from 55% to say 70%. If that aspect of his game improves, he'll become an even more dangerous player.

Hump played Los Angeles real tough last season. He had two double-doubles, including a 19 point 20 rebound game. Despite all the marriage jokes and being hated by a lot of people, Humphries has had another solid season. It'll be a physical matchup between these forwards in the paint. The Nets need more guys like Humphries.

Advantage: Clippers

Center: DeAndre Jordan vs. Shelden Williams

Speaking of needing to improve at the free throw line. That 47% is a real sight for sore eyes. His nine rebounds and three blocks per game are not (I don't know, a sight for beautiful eyes?). He operates exclusively near the rim on offense, but who cares when you're shooting 65% from the field.

Williams last night vs. Miami: 0 points, 0 attempts. That about cover his use on offense?

Advantage: Clippers

Bench:

Los Angeles: Mo Williams, Eric Bledsoe, Kenyon Martin, Bobby Simmons, Ryan Gomes

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Sundiata Gaines, Gerald Green, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar

Advantage: Clippers

Miscellaneous:

Just 2.5 games separate the Clippers from 8th seed Houston. It's gonna be real interesting down the stretch in the West.

if anyone tells you James Dolan or Jeffrey Loria are the worst owners in sports, tell them they're fools

There are many reasons to hate Donald Sterling if you're not a Clippers fan, and this article provides some of the reasons why.

Journey through the dark side: Clips Nation

The mothership: Clippers vs Nets coverage

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