The NBA’s best point guard and the rest of “Lob City” aka the Los Angeles Clippers come to San Antonio tonight coming off a Christmas day victory versus the Warriors to face the San Antonio Spurs.
But as Pedro Moura with ESPN LA pointed out, what was interesting about that game aside from the absence of lobs, was that there were several times where Chris Paul was on the court, but he wasn’t bringing the ball up the court. The job went to point guard turned shooting guard Chauncey Billups. It’s a wrinkle that left many scratching their heads, but it’s something Paul said doesn’t really bother him.
“It doesn’t matter,” Paul said Tuesday. “It doesn’t matter when you have two guys like me and Chauncey because we have the opportunity to attack from different spots on the floor.”
In broad terms, head coach Vinny Del Negro’s plan worked because the Clippers won big, but the Clips didn’t really pull away until mid way through the fourth quarter when Paul came in and took over.
It will also be interesting to see how much Chauncey and CP3 play together against the Spurs because the San Antonio has big shooting guards. Golden State’s small backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis was a perfect match up for the Clips. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Caron Butler shift over to shooting guard and Ryan Gomes play small forward.
I’m a firm believer that two guys like Paul and Billups can figure this out, but it’ll be interesting to see how they handle it in the first couple of games. As Moura points out, this is the second time in CP3’s career where he’s played off the ball for stretches at a time. In the 2007-2008 season, the Hornets played a lot of crunch time with Paul and Jannero Pargo, with Pargo initiating the offense a lot of the time. That season they finished 56-26 and pushed the Spurs to a game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals. This Clippers team isn’t the exact same as that Hornets team, but this Clips team could be just as good.